Canadians plan to spend most of their holiday budgets in store this season
The traditionally American retail holiday of Black Friday is continuing to gain popularity in Canada and has become the most popular shopping event among Canadians.
According to Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) second annual Holiday Shopping Survey, 43 per cent of Canadian consumers plan to open their wallets on Black Friday, the day after American Thanksgiving, compared to 40 per cent last year. In contrast, 34 per cent plan to shop on Boxing Day. The study, exploring Canadians’ attitudes and intended behaviours around the upcoming 2019 holiday shopping season confirmed that Black Friday isn’t a passing trend in Canada. In fact, Canadians who plan to shop on Black Friday plan to spend a greater share of their 2019 holiday budget on Black Friday (38 per cent of holiday budget) compared with those who shop on Boxing Day (30 per cent of holiday budget).
“There was a time when Black Friday was a shopping event south of the border and a small number of determined Canadians would brave the lineups for a chance at scoring a good deal on everything from household appliances to electronics,” says Diane J. Brisebois, President & CEO, Retail Council of Canada. “Today, our breakthrough study proves that Black Friday has grown to be a part of Canadian shopping culture with retailers offering eye-opening deals, special promotions and exclusive products on offers that keep shoppers and their dollars here at home.”
The report found that stores still rule: 72 per cent of holiday shopping budgets will be spent in store with the remaining 28 per cent being spent online. Possible reasons: a majority of Canadians agree that finding the right gift can be challenging (67 per cent) and they prefer to shop in-person so they can see and touch the products (65 per cent).
When it comes to price, however, 36 per cent believe they get better deals online than in-store during the holidays. Not surprisingly, more than two in five Canadians (44 per cent) say Cyber Monday deals are better online, while a similar amount (40 per cent) think Boxing Day deals are better in-store.
“The retail brick-and-mortar apocalypse is a myth,” says Brisebois. “The study clearly shows that consumers continue to enjoy shopping in physical stores. While the online channel continues to grow in popularity, our findings demonstrate the importance of building meaningful and personalized shopping experiences for Canadian consumers in all retail channels including brick-and-mortar.”
When asked to rank their top three, holidays sales or promotions (65 per cent), free shipping (53 per cent) and a convenient return policy (39 per cent) are the most influencing factors impacting where people will choose to shop this holiday season.
Overall, Canadians will dig a little deeper this year, planning to spend an average of $792, a directional increase from the $675 they said they were planning to spend on holiday spending in 2018. Like last year, a majority of Canadians (65 per cent) plan on setting a firm budget. However, in reflecting back, more than a quarter reported they actually spent more than they had anticipated to spend.
Whatever they plan to buy, Canadians are showing a greater interest in keeping their dollars at home. A majority of Canadians (85 per cent) consider it important to support Canadian retailers this season.
- More than a quarter of Canadians (28 per cent) have already started their 2019 holiday shopping, and nearly three quarters (72 per cent) will have begun their shopping by the end of November.
- On average, more than three quarters of Canadians’ holiday shopping is spent on gifts for others
- 60 per cent plan to spend some of their holiday budget on gift cards
- The majority of holiday season spending, on average, will go to: food/alcohol/sweets for holiday entertaining (19 per cent), clothing (17 per cent), and toys (11 per cent)