Spending less, longer sales: Holiday shopping season sees changes in Canada

Black Friday marks the unofficial start of the holiday gift-buying season. But with shopping habits changing over the years and deals happening all week long, you likely won’t have to wait in long lines to snag a good deal.

The high cost of living is top of mind for many shoppers this year. A new report by Crestview Strategy found nearly half of Canadians plan on spending less on gifts this holiday season compared to last year.

“I’d say we are definitely going to plan to spend a little bit less and focus more on family sort of things than more so gifts this year,” said one Edmontonian CityNews spoke to.

Another added, “I’m shopping for Christmas, and just buying for the grandchildren. So I’ll spend probably the same as last year.”

That’s because nearly half of Canadians believe their own financial situation has worsened, while two-thirds believe the economy has gotten worse over the past year, making it hard for many shoppers to pass up a good sale.

“I would predict an increase in spending now, during this period of time because I think what people are going to do is try to find those deals now in order to ultimately spend less over the holiday season,” explained Dr. Alexander Santelli, Vice President and National Practice Lead with Crestview Strategy.

For local businesses like Kunitz Shoes, they count on the holiday season to boost their annual profits, and so far their Black Friday sales haven’t let them down.

“You have to offer good deals right now if things are a little bit slower,” said Kunitz.

“I do see that people are being a little bit more comfortable with their purchase, but if what you have has value and function for the customer, they’re still going to go for that purchase.

Kunitz also says online sales have made up about 25 per cent of their Black Friday week-long sales this year, which is higher than usual. They’re noticing that change in shopping habits.

“Typically our online sales are about 15 per cent of our business, and this week it’s been much higher, about 25 per cent of our business,” explained Kunitz.

“So people are finding those deals, and they like that they can shop online, and price and compare similar product, so we do see that maybe going forward for future Black Fridays that we can definitely kind of harness that ability to sell across Canada and sell online.”

Ultimately shoppers have a hard time passing up a good deal, and the crowd at the largest mall in North America proved just that, on Friday.

“I’m always looking for deals. I’m a mom with lots of kids so deals are great.”

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