Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving and is the linchpin of the holiday shopping season in the United States. The term originated with traffic cops in Philadelphia in the early 1960s, dismayed about the difficulty of work in the busy downtown shopping district on the Friday after Thanksgiving. As the term spread to other cities and eventually nationwide, its meaning was changed to represent “the day when retailers saw their books go from the red to the black for the year”. While this is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the impact of Black Friday’s increased shopping volume on most retailers’ annual finances, it has been the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S. since at least 2005. In recent decades, retailers have capitalized on and expanded the high amount of shopping activity by offering major sales deals on Black Friday.
Cyber Monday is a more recent e-commerce-based addendum to Black Friday. First coined by the National Retail Federation in 2005, it takes place on the Monday after Thanksgiving and features merchants offering e-commerce equivalents to Black Friday’s doorbuster sales. Spurred in part by the in-person shopping limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020’s Cyber Monday was the biggest in U.S. history
, reaching nearly $11 billion in sales.
A number of different factors contribute to high rates of chargebacks during the holiday season, most of which tie back into the high volumes of holiday- and gift-related shopping. There are more transactions overall, merchants are busier and may be less diligent about preventing fraud, fraudsters are more active due to the busy season, and consumers may be more prone to fraud scams as they look for holiday deals.
The most important thing for merchants on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and throughout the holiday season is to not allow the busyness of the season to interfere with their chargeback mitigation efforts. More attention needs to be paid to fraud prevention, customer service, and other strategies for reducing chargebacks.