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Forget Black Friday: now it’s Brown Thursday and Singles Day!

Forget Black Friday: now it’s Brown Thursday and Singles Day!

The world of e-commerce has already launched into its pre-Christmas explosion. International courier ParcelHero reveals the latest dates to add to your shopping diary.

Singles Day - 11th November 2014: Singles Day comes from China, and is now the largest online shopping day in the world – outstripping Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

It originated in Nanjing University where the large number of single males celebrated 11th November because it is all the ones: 11/11. Students continued the tradition once they had left university and it really took off in 2011: 11/11/11!

It became an excuse for nationwide shopping events as an unofficial holiday. Internet giant Alibaba popularised the day with extensive offers. Its charismatic founder Jack Ma predicted last week: "I bet the number of goods sold is going to be scary." He was right. Sales this year totalled $9.3bn on Alibaba alone.

Brown Thursday - Thanksgiving 27th November 2014: You’ve heard of Black Friday, well the day before – Thanksgiving – has now been sucked into the commercial frenzy, and termed Brown Thursday.

In an effort to be first with the bargains, stores and e-tailers are now opening on Thanksgiving itself. Last year Brown Thursday was worth $810m – though it looked to have poached some sales from Black Friday in the US, which were down.

Why is it called Brown Thursday? Brown is the new black... And some shop workers are not happy at having to give up their Thanksgiving Holidays, which might account for the rather unfortunate choice in colour!

Black Friday - 28th November 2014: The day after Thanksgiving in the US is rather like our UK Boxing Day, a spare day when shops launch sales. The launch of the US Christmas shopping season, it’s been the busiest shopping day in the US since at least 2005.

Its name sounds rather dark, and that’s because it did have rather sombre origins. Philadelphia police named the day after Thanksgiving ‘Black Friday’ because people climbed into their cars a little the worse for wear after the celebrations to go to work or the shops. There were considerably more accidents as a result. Somehow the name stuck, despite several attempts by the retail industry to introduce something a little jollier.

Here in the UK, Amazon first popularised the day. Asda, owned by US giant Walmart, has also embraced and popularised Black Friday in the UK, and now even the likes of John Lewis are preparing for battle.

Cyber Monday - 1st December 2014: Cyber Monday originated around 2005, as e-commerce sites noticed a spike in online purchases. Industry pundits believe that - at that time - offices probably had better internet connections than most homes. People returning to work after Thanksgiving dived on to computers on the first Monday after the holiday to get their Christmas shopping done. By 2009 retailers here in the UK saw that Cyber Monday had become the biggest internet shopping day of the year.

This year Cyber Monday is expected to achieve sales of $2.60bn and Black Friday $2.48bn according to Adobe Digital Index. Couriers are also preparing for later in the week after Cyber Monday - when all the returned items start flowing back! ParcelHero suggests calling it #Humpday Wednesday.

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