Holiday Central

New American export: Black Friday

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Thanksgiving is a holiday that's uniquely American in its origin, and celebration. And shopping on Black Friday is as much a tradition for many American families as turkey is the day before.

From Russia to Mexico to China, they may not celebrate Thanksgiving, but more and more global consumers are coming to know what the day after means: 50 percent off cashmere sweaters.

(Read more: Black Friday: Not always about deals)

"Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two highest days of sales that we see from all the way around the world," said Borderfree CEO Michael DeSimone.

Borderfree is a company that works with many American retailers, including J.Crew, Aeropostale, Neiman Marcus and others, to convert the retailers' websites to country-appropriate language and currency translations. Once a sale is made, Borderfree steps in to help collect taxes and tariffs and facilitates shipping to get the merchandise to the consumer wherever they may live.

"In the Middle East much of the population doesn't even celebrate Christmas, but they are still shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so I think it's an interesting way that we have sort of exported our American retail culture," DeSimone said.

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Macy's may be the American retailer most closely associated with the holiday season for many consumers domestically, and abroad. It's hard to think of another that has the equivalent of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the classic movie "Miracle on 34th Street" that uses the retailer's flagship store almost as a character itself.

The retailer, which also owns Bloomingdales, said, and ship to more than 100 countries, and a spokesperson for the company acknowledged Black Friday and Cyber Monday are "very busy days everywhere on the Web."

The Hanukkah effect
The Hanukkah effect

Last year, Saks saw a significant increase in international traffic and sales during its post-Thanksgiving events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the company said. The retailer expects the same occurrence this year.

The high-end department store said significant international sales are done in Canada, Australia, Russia, the Middle East and Asia. In general, top-selling products for international shoppers on days like Black Friday usually fall within categories such as women's shoes, handbags and contemporary sportswear categories, Saks said.

(Read more: Should retailers brace for a blue Christmas?)

DeSimone said he's starting to see evidence that American retailers have successfully exported Black Friday, and he expects "the whole weekend will become a global phenomenon in not that much longer, maybe just a few years."

Retailers in Australia have begun to run specials over the Black Friday weekend because they have to compete with what the American retailers are offering online, he said.

While international shoppers are interested in the competitive pricing and the wide selection of products American retailers offer, DeSimone said the draw is often more than just the combination of those two things. The third reason international shoppers give for buying from American retailers online is "so people think I recently went to the United States."

—By CNBC's Courtney Reagan. Follow her on Twitter @CourtReagan.