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It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas in Canada America?

Unless you have been lost in the Himalayas, you have without a doubt noticed the rising popularity of Canadian Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales from retailers over the past few years.  This shopping frenzied event comes from our American neigbours; it immediately follows American Thanksgiving and marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season.  There has definitely been a shift away from Canada’s longtime running favourite shopping day, the day following Christmas, Boxing Day.  Traditionally in Canada, if Santa didn’t quite get it right, you would just get up early and hit the shops to get what you want at a discounted price.

It appears Canadians are enticed to get out on Black Friday to help Santa get it right the first time.  Canadian retailers have caught on with the Black Friday phenomenon both in stores and online.  They understand the allure and psychological pull of consumers to save on their holiday purchases rather than after Christmas. Timing is everything customers want to stretch their holiday budget and Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers them the opportunity to do that.  Furthermore, consumers believe that, “deals are far more attractive than Boxing Day deals.”  It is no surprise to learn that according to the Retail Council of Canada, “Black Friday has surpassed Boxing Day as the most popular shopping event among Canadians.”  Of the 2500 Canadians surveyed, 43 percent said they will be heading to the shops on Black Friday and 32 percent for Cyber Monday, while 34 percent will hold off until Boxing Day.  The RCC also found that Black Friday shopping is up 40 percent from last year.

Some think that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in America rather than Canada.  Yet they understand and are pleased that Canadian retailers have made it possible to shop at a discount right here in Canada, keeping our Canadian dollars north of the border.  However, Canadians who have made the shopping trip to the USA for Black Friday say that Canada has a long way to go.  Greater deals are offered down south and Canadians want to see that here.  Some Canadians are skeptical all together and feel retailers purposely mark up the prices to then offer it at a lower price.  Nonetheless, the whole shopping process, from the research to finding the perfect deal, can make people feel good.  For many shoppers, it’s all about the hunt.

Through the news media outlets, we see the craziness, violence, and crowds of people who stumble over each other to get their hands on the latest electronic device or whatever the “it” item is of the season.  Fortunately, Canada’s adoption of Black Friday and Cyber Monday stops there.  The tradition of knocking each other out hasn’t caught on in the friendly north. We are thankful that it’s only the deals that have migrated north.  While Canadians will be getting up early to take advantage of the promotions offered this Friday (29), we have shown that we desire a more pleasant shopping experience without hurting ourselves or others. 

The average anticipated holiday spend this year is $792 and retailers fight for a piece of that money.  72 percent of Canadian consumers have a preference for shopping at traditional brick and mortar stores.  If the crowds, noise and hustle bustle of the season heightens your stress level, stay in to shop from the comfort of your home.  There are opportunities to save online too and your stress is limited to tracking your package.

Madalena Lopes/MS

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