TORONTO - Canadian spending grew 23 per cent on Cyber Monday and 6.5 per cent on Black Friday this year over last, pointing to the growing popularity of two of the busiest shopping days in the U.S. north of the border.

"Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been popular shopping days with our neighbours south of the border for years," said Malcolm Fowler, vice-president of marketing at Moneris Solutions, the debit and credit card processor that released the report.

"Thanks to the unprecedented number of Canadian merchants and consumers who embraced them this year, these two shopping days are becoming a mainstay in Canada."

The report, which provides a snapshot of consumer spending activity in Canada by analyzing credit and debit card transaction data, found the specialty retail category saw the largest increase, 15 per cent, in dollars spend on Black Friday.

Within that category, radios, televisions and stereos were the most popular choices with spending up 22 per cent.

Clothing sales rose 13 per cent compared to the day last year.

Apparel sales led the way on Cyber Monday, with spending growth up 77 per cent, followed by specialty retail, with 45 per cent growth. And online shoe sales skyrocked 112 per cent compared to 2011.

Experts say the burgeoning weekend-long holiday sales event could soon surpass Boxing Day as the busiest shopping period of the year.

For years, both events were largely U.S. phenomena that had Canadians who wanted to participate visiting American websites or making cross-border trips on the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, which marks the start of the crucial holiday shopping season when retailers turn profits, or go "into the black.''

Cyber Monday emerged as shoppers wanting to continue their Black Friday spree logged-in at home, as well as at work on the following Monday.

A combination of factors — U.S. competitors setting up shop in Canada, Canadian retailers trying to keep sales local, Canadians' shifting shopping habits and tight-fisted consumers with shaky confidence in the economy — are helping to establish the events on Canadian soil.

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  • Bloomingdale's

    The iconic American upscale retailer is in talks with Hudson's Bay Company to become a "store within a store" at HBC locations in Canada. The move is seen as an attempt by The Bay to fight off the possible arrival of Nordstrom's (see next slide).

  • Nordstrom

    One of the most prominent competitors to Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom announced in September, 2012, that it plans to open locations in Cadillac Fairview-owned malls in Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver. The stores will open in former Sears locations.

  • Marshalls

    Discount retailer Marshalls entered the Canadian market in March, 2011, and recently announced an expansion of six new stores in Ontario. At least a dozen of its 750 stores are now located in Canada.

  • Lowe's

    The home improvement retailer began moving into the Canadian market in 2007, with a store in Hamilton, Ontario. It has since expanded to 31 locations in Ontario and Alberta.

  • J. Crew

    Ritzy fashion chain J. Crew opened its first Canadian location in the summer of 2011, and immediately ran into public anger about the U.S.-Canada price gap. Shoppers complained that J. Crew's Canadian prices were about 15 per cent higher than in the U.S.

  • Target

    The arrival of Target to Canada in 2013 is easily the most hotly-anticipated retail arrival since Walmart came north of the border in 1994. The discount retailer is planning more than 100 stores across the country, having taken over a significant number of Zellers locations. But the store is currently engaged in a labour dispute, as it tries to keep former Zellers employees from unionizing in the new stores.