There are some traditions that never seem to change, like watching Die Hard on Christmas Eve, and there are others that morph with the times.
Take Canadians' approach to holiday shopping, for example. For decades, Boxing Day was the biggest shopping day of the year, but increasingly the pull of Black Friday and Cyber Monday from south of the border has had an impact on our shopping behaviour.
As we prepare for the busiest shopping period of the year, here are a few interesting facts about Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
1. Canadians are planning to do a lot of online shopping.
According to a study from Ebates Canada, 83 per cent of Canadians plan to shop online this holiday season. The same report found that shoppers plan to spend an average of $602, up from $570 in 2017.
2. Boxing Day popularity is waning.
Hitting the shops on Boxing Day has been a quintessentially Canadian (actually British) tradition for decades but that is starting to change. The momentum of online shopping, combined with the expansion of U.S. retailers into Canada, has led to a shift in Canadian shopping habits.
A survey last year by the Conseil québécois du commerce de détail found that only 27 per cent of respondents planned to shop on Boxing Day, compared with 42 per cent who had plans to take advantage of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday madness.
3. Black Friday isn't that new.
The Black Friday hype originates in the 1950s, as Americans used the day after their Thanksgiving holiday to get started on their holiday shopping.
Black Friday really entered the mainstream in the mid-2000s as it grew to be the most popular shopping day of the year in the United States in 2005. Its popularity in Canada really started to take off in 2008 as the Canadian dollar reached parity with the U.S. dollar making the sales even more enticing.
4. Canadians prefer to buy local.
Despite its origins as a U.S. phenomenon, Canadians have made Black Friday and Cyber Monday their own. A recent survey by the Retail Council of Canada found that 87 per cent of Canadians said it is important to buy Canadian.
When looking to buy local, Canadians look for a .CA domain name to indicate that a company offers simple shipping options, easy returns, and shopping in Canadian dollars.
5. Digital and physical experiences are merging.
Cyber Monday evolved as an e-commerce response to Black Friday, but recent retail trends show that customers increasingly don't see much of a difference.
Canada's Internet Factbook found that 45 per cent of Canadians generally visit a store's website before making a purchase in store. We often refer to this as webrooming, where consumers use the vast research and comparison power of the internet to augment their in-store experience.
Conversely, the same study found that 55 per cent of Canadians browse in-store first and then purchase online. We call this showrooming, and Canadian retailers like Canadian Tire and Chapters/Indigo are increasingly providing options for their customers to shop wherever they like and have a consistent, hassle-free experience.
No matter how you plan to shop this holiday season, remember that a .CA domain is a surefire sign of a business that understands Canadians, provides a seamless shopping experience, and supports the local economy.