indicatorThe Owl

A little Black Friday trivia

Why is American Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November?

By ATB Economics 27 November 2020 2 min read

It being “Black Friday” today, The Owl is taking a break from its usual Alberta-focused statistical content to share a little trivia about “the busiest shopping day of the year.” (Please note that the references to Thanksgiving are to the U.S. holiday rather than Canadian Thanksgiving.)

1. What was the first department store to advertise a post-Thanksgiving sale?
2. What percentage of Americans shopped (either in person or online) on Black Friday 2019?
3. What percentage of Black Friday shoppers in the U.S. admit to drinking before shopping?
4. How many countries besides the U.S. have some form of Black Friday?
5. What is the Monday after Black Friday called?
6. Why is American Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November?
7. When did Black Friday become the busiest shopping day of the year in the U.S.?
8. Which is the busiest online shopping day – Black Friday or Cyber Monday?
9. How many Canadians said they were going to spend this Black Friday (the survey was done pre-pandemic in February 2020)?
10. What level of discount do Canadians need to buy something this Black Friday?

1. Macy's was the first to advertise post-Thanksgiving shopping in 1924.
2. According to a National Retail Federation survey, 70 per cent of Americans shopped in stores or online during Black Friday 2019.
3. According to a survey conducted on behalf of the coupon site RetailMeNot, 12 per cent of all Black Friday shoppers say they shopped under the influence of alcohol.
4. At least 20 other countries observe some kind of late-November launch to the holiday shopping season.
5. The Monday after Thanksgiving was first given the name "Cyber Monday" in 2005 by
6. “From the mid-19th to the early 20th Century, the U.S. president would declare a “day of giving thanks” on the last Thursday in November. This changed in 1939 when the last Thursday was the last day in the month. Retailers were afraid that the holiday season would be shortened and therefore petitioned the president to declare the holiday be held one week earlier. In 1941, Congress created a joint resolution to clear things up. After that, Thanksgiving was always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, which gave shoppers one extra week to shop before Christmas.”
7. The Saturday before Christmas was the busiest shopping day of the year until 2001.
8. In 2019, Black Friday beat Cyber Monday as the busiest online shopping day: 93.2 million shopped online on Black Friday vs. 83.3 million on Cyber Monday.
9. In a survey done in February 2020, 43 per cent of Canadian adults, or more than 12.8 million people, planned to spend money for Black Friday. The average amount for those planning to shop was $362.
10. Three in 10 Canadians are looking for discounts of 50 per cent to 90 cent in order to buy something on Black Friday. 

Sources:;; National Retail Federation;

Macy's was the first to advertise post-Thanksgiving shopping in 1924

Macy's was the first to advertise post-Thanksgiving shopping in 1924 during its Thanksgiving Day parade

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