What is Boxing Day? The Black Friday of Christmas


Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, is usually the day when sales appear with discounted prices on everything from clothes to holiday themed items. Boxing Day originally began in the United Kingdom and was also known as the Feast of St. Stephen, where people used to open church alms-boxes and give them to the poor. This later turned into the custom of giving Christmas boxes to servants then later to tradesmen, such as postmen and dustmen. In many other countries, Boxing Day is a bank holiday and most offices are closed. Boxing Day is not only a day to exchange or give gifts but also a day to buy more and is seen as a day of sales for retailers.

In the U.S., Boxing Day can be considered as a Black Friday-like event. It’s a great time to buy gifts or furnished goods, as sales are rampant. An article in USA Today looked towards The International Council of Shopping Centers, which reported that retail sales for the week ending Dec. 22 were up at 0.7%. It was reported that the ICSC estimate is in contrast to the increase MasterCard Advisors said it saw in the months leading up to Christmas. MasterCards estimates is for sales using cash, check and all credit cards in categories such as luxury goods, clothing, electronics, and furnishings along with online sales.  

Last year, MasterCard estimate were up by 2%, though there was little worry as the week after Christmas accounts for about 15% of holiday sales. For this year, there is little doubt that few people will take advantage of the sales, whether it be online or in store.

With Christmas over, the post-holiday sales have already begun. In the UK, shoppers have been flocking to malls and stores to get the best deals. As reported in The Independent, UK shopping sales were forecasted at an all-time high. In the U.S., the post-holiday sales are expected to rise following a meager start brought on by Hurricane Sandy and fiscal cliff concerns.

The National Retail Federation is expecting that holiday sales will increase by 4.1% to $586 billion compared to last year, which is certainly a high point.