Last month, on the day right after American Thanksgiving, the United States celebrated “Black Friday”. Known as the busiest shopping day of the year, retailers across the country offer extreme discounts as shoppers officially start off the holiday shopping season. Frenzied customers piling into stores, searching for the best bargains, on this day has become the norm.
It is also becoming quite common for Canadians to cross the border to take advantage of the amazing discounts. Even more Canadians, however, are saving themselves the trouble and are simply shopping online to take advantage of some the very same discounts. Earlier this week, Dana Flavelle of The Toronto Star reported that more Canadians chose the online option for this year’s Black Friday event.
A recent survey, conducted by global research firm Synovate, found that while 9.3 per cent of Canadians took the trip to the States for their shopping ventures, 21 per cent decided to stay at home and shop online. Of the respondents who crossed the border, two-thirds admitted that they did so to get “better U.S. prices” as well as better selection and unique offerings.
The cross border shoppers also admitted spending upwards of $1000 on their Black Friday adventures. Online shoppers, on the other hand, spent an average of half that amount. However, the impact of online shopping during Black Friday was felt by Canada Post, which said that the number of parcels headed north from the U.S. significantly increased.
The moral of the story, according to Kaileen Millard-Ruff who is the vice-president of retail for Synovate Canada, is that Canadian retailers need to strengthen their online marketing campaigns in a big way. Even large retailers such as Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire provide no ability to make online purchases.
Said Millard-Ruff: “It appears that some Canadians find the retail offering in Canada falls short and feel that online delivers on their needs. While a large number of Canadian retailers have made an effort to get online, there’s still a large number of who aren’t online in a big way.” Flavelle notes that retailers such as Reitmans Canada, Gap Canada, Harry Rosen and Sporting Life only just recently launched e-commerce sites.
Here’s what people bought online according to the Synovate survey: “Men who shopped online: 40.2 per cent bought electronics, 26.3 per cent bought clothing, 15.2 per cent bought footwear. Women who shopped online: 27.5 per cent bought clothing, 27.5 per cent bought books, music and videos, 20.3 per cent bought electronics.”