For many, the American tradition of going from meals to deals in the span of two days during Thanksgiving weekend marks the beginning of the holiday season from the sunny coast of California to the snow-covered sidewalks of Delaware. But is this retail coda as American as the feast it follows? Not anymore.
The expansion of chains such as Walmart around the world has prompted some countries to adopt the Black Friday custom of big sales.
Take Argentina: Black Friday sales grew more than 376% in the past five years in the Latin American country, according to a survey by Black Friday Global. Even though the country doesn't technically celebrate this retail tradition, Walmart announced in 2013 that its Argentinian branches would offer the same deals the day after Thanksgiving.
On the other side of the world, South Africa isn’t holding back. The country topped the list of most online searches for Black Friday this year, according to Google data.
European countries decided to get in on the sales action during the last Friday of November, as well as Cyber Monday. More than half of their purchases were made online, according to data from PwC.
"European territories' restrictions on how and when you discount also makes it a little more unique," said Lisa Hooker, leader of industry for consumer markets for PwC UK.
Hooker indicated that retail giant Amazon introduced the event to the U.K. in 2010, making Black Friday more mature in this country than its European neighbors who adopted the trend later on.
Shoppers in the other countries said they "excitedly plan Black Friday spending in advance," PwC said, particularly in South Africa, Ireland and France. In the U.K., which has had nearly a decade of the annual November sales, 30% of shoppers said they wait until the actual day to decide what to buy.
Familiarity hasn't quite bred contempt, but a sense of skepticism does appear to be taking hold in the U.K. Nearly 30% of shoppers said the deals aren’t exciting, and 20% said they believe the deals aren’t genuine.
The big draws in checkout carts around the world on Black Friday mirror what Americans hope to get a good deal on. Electronics and fashion products, according to PwC, are particularly popular in Brazil, as well as the U.K.
But in France, dozens of French activists blocked an Amazon warehouse south of Paris in a Black Friday-inspired protest, amid increased opposition to the post-Thanksgiving sales phenomenon that has seen a group of French lawmakers push to ban it altogether.
More demonstrations are expected as Black Friday looms into view. French climate groups are planning "Block Friday" demonstrations Friday.
A French legislative committee recently passed an amendment that proposes prohibiting Black Friday since it causes "resource waste" and "overconsumption."
Adobe predicts online sales to increase by $143.7 billion in the U.S. alone during the holiday season.