Black Friday & Cyber Monday: A Global Opportunity For Retailers

by Chelsea Ramage

Black Friday and Cyber Monday fashion a global opportunity for retailers

With a yearly sales increase from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, US shopping traditions have proven to be a major catalyst for countries worldwide to increase purchasing efforts.

This is the era of online sales.

eCommerce companies have an opportunity to reach markets beyond the US and can achieve that through modern international shopping events. Better yet, online retailers can connect to any audience from any location with eCommerce localization.

First, let's take a look at where this retail trend began and how it has spread across the globe.

Where it all began: the US

In the US, Black Friday is known as the beginning of the holiday shopping season. During this time of the year, many stations are playing Christmas music and shopping deals are competitive. So competitive that since 2005, Black Friday has been reported as the busiest shopping day of the year.

According to Statista, 534 million were spent on Black Friday in 2008. That number has since skyrocketed to 1.5 billion in 2014. Cyber Monday has also seen a growth as spending increased from 834 million in 2008 to 2.04 billion last year.

2008 - 2014 spending black friday cyber monday

As the spending dollars increase year over year, international retailers that have not yet offered discounts have become more curious to the shopping movement.

So what is happening in countries that have started to participate in shopping events within the past few years?


As Black Friday grew in popularity throughout the US, people in Canada would cross-border shop to take advantage of discounts that US retailers were offering. In the late 2000s, Canadian retailers began to offer Black Friday Deals to stop Canadians from cross-border shopping and encourage shopping in their native land.


In past years, Black Friday was referred to as “Vendredi noir” in French. “Vendredi noir” now refers specifically to the attacks which took place in Paris on Friday, November 13th. Due to these tragic circumstances, retailers are renaming and rebranding their shopping events for the upcoming holiday season.


Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) was implemented by Google India on December 12, 2012, as a way to attract first-time buyers to their site.  According to The Economic Times, 90 retailers joined in the first GOSF in 2012, with the number increasing to 550 retailers last year.

As a result, Google announced that it is shutting down the annual online shopping event this year since the goal of creating a competitive eCommerce space in India was met.


Black Friday was first celebrated in 2012, as an initiative to bring in more tourists to Panama. As the 14th largest mall in the world, Albrook Mall attracted shoppers from all around Latin America to take advantage of discounted prices. In 2014, discounts were advertised up to 75%.


A small version of Black Friday began in the UK initiated by UK retailer, Currys, in 2003. Eleven years later, many UK retailers begun to follow the trend and provide discounts. Surprisingly, the UK's online sales grew higher than the US' online sales in 2014. Even though Thanksgiving is not a holiday in the UK, retailers are still expecting Black Friday shopping to be another year of sales growth.

Similar shopping events around the world:

Mexico: El Buen Fin

El Buen Fin (The Good Weekend) originated in November of 2011, the weekend before the Monday of the Mexican Revolution Holiday. Inspired by Black Friday, El Buen Fin was initially considered as an opportunity to boost Mexico's economy.

Some would say, however, that El Buen Fin really only positioned the people living in Mexico with more credit card debt.

Boxing Day: US, Canada, Australia, Ireland

Boxing Day is a shopping tradition observed on December 26th, the day after Christmas. In a last attempt for retailers to off-load stock, Boxing day offers sales both in-store and online.

Singles Day: the world's biggest online shopping event

Singles Day, a Chinese holiday on November 11th, surpasses Black Friday and Cyber Monday in customer spending. This year, Alibaba said there would be more than 40,000 merchants and 30,000 brands from 25 countries selling products through its platforms.

Alibaba's sales totaled 14.32 billion this year which is up 60% from last year's 9.3 billion.

What does this global activity translate to for global retailers?

  1. Cyber Monday is growing globally

Cyber Monday has been adopted by Canada, Japan, Australia, Colombia, and the UK. As more countries adopt this online event, retailers can use Cyber Monday as a global advantage to differentiate from competitors.

When building a strategy for international eCommerce success, consider the benefits of eCommerce localization services to communicate in the language of your target audience. Customers prefer to view a website in their native language and those companies that can provide a multilingual website to their customers will also be building a loyal customer base.

  1. A world of opportunities

Shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide an opportunity for retailers to reach new markets and increase revenue. With more countries adopting these traditions, retailers have an outlet to become more visible globally

Retailers that are open to adopting shopping events similar to Black Friday are now testing the waters with specific product categories. Analyzing the trends in how retailers market in specific countries from the prior year can give insight to how retailers will present deals this year in the upcoming holiday shopping season. The growth opportunities for retailers will only be limited by the extent of their global reach.