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The days immediately following Thanksgiving kick off the beginning of the holiday shopping season and are some of the busiest days of the year for retail sales.  Retailers offer some of their best deals of the year in order to lure in shoppers and shoppers often camp out for hours to score the most popular items.

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The term Black Friday was coined in 1966 and has come to be recognized as the day that many retailers become profitable for the year. Steadily growing in popularity, Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005.

Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving when many non-retail employees are off work.  Deals generally start long before dawn and are now being increasingly offered starting at midnight as well.  It is estimated that 212 million shoppers visited stores on Black Friday in 2010 spending $45 billion dollars- an average of $365 per shopper. Spending increased 6% in 2010 and has doubled since 2005.Gift related items such as toys, clothing, electronics, multimedia, sporting goods, jewelry, and gift cards are the most popular items to purchase on Black Friday.

The introduction of Cyber Monday is more recent, named in 2005. Cyber Monday shoppers hit online stores the Monday after Thanksgiving once they have returned to work, often purchasing items they saw and liked on Black Friday. Last year, Cyber Monday brought in a billion dollars in revenue, growing 13% over 2009.

(For more recent data on Black Friday and how it can impact your online marketing campaign, be sure to check out our more recent Ultimate Guide to Online Marketing for Black Friday.)