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GermanyinUSA is the home of the monthly newsletter “Germany for Americans”, produced by the German Embassy in Washington, DC. For the embassy’s official website, visit Germany.info.

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The history of Black Friday shopping – in Germany!

It’s Friday! We’re guessing many of our American friends are off work today. You may be reading this while standing in line at a shopping mall because after all, it’s Black Friday and there’s plenty of deals to steal!

But while Thanksgiving is an American holiday, Black Friday is slowly becoming a global phenomenon – and Germans are among those who are participating.

Black Friday is – and always has been – a consumer’s holiday. The Friday after Thanksgiving has always marked the start of the holiday shopping season. But the term “Black Friday” first came to use in a different context: in the 1950s, American factory works used the term because so many of their coworkers called in sick on the day after Thanksgiving. In the 1960s, Philadelphia police were struggling to deal with traffic jams, large crowds and shoplifters on that Friday, also bringing the word “Black Friday” into use. The term was used in a negative context in both of these instances.

In the 1980s, however, stores decided to use the term to their advantage. They announced that “Black Friday” would be a day filled with sales, making it the perfect time to hit the stores during the holiday shopping season. And ever since, Black Friday has grown in popularity throughout the US – and more recently, other countries.

The concept of Black Friday is relatively new in Germany. Apple was one of the first companies to bring Black Friday to the German market in 2006. Today, many other retailers have begun advertising deals on this day, calling it “Black Friday” or “Black Weekend.” According to an internet survey in Ecommerce Vision, about 76 percent of Germans are aware of Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday (2015 figures). About 86 percent of respondents said they would find deals using their computers. For many, ordering items online was more appealing than going to stores.

Since 2013, Germans have been logging onto a website called Black-Friday.de to find deals. This 24-hour online sales event was created by hundreds of internet vendors in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and is considered the largest shopping event in German-speaking countries.

So whether you are in Germany or in the US, shopping in stores or online, you’ll be able to find some deals this Friday. Happy shopping!

By Nicole Glass, German Embassy

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