Holiday shopping in Canada is changing as Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales take hold, and the largest casualty of this shift may be the country’s traditional day for holiday sales: Boxing Day.
It’s not lost on consumers that Canada’s big day for sales comes the day after Christmas, and with pre-Christmas sales now the norm, that’s making Boxing Day increasingly irrelevant, some retail experts say.
Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet, told CTV News that all the sales now taking place before Christmas make it hard for stores to chop prices by any noticeable amount after the holiday.
"Anything you're left with after Christmas is exceptionally hard to blow out, because you've already set consumer expectations to be so high … You could argue that we may see the end of Boxing Day because it really won't have much of an impact anymore," he added.
Consumers are catching on to this. In a recent survey from RetailMeNot.ca, 63 per cent of respondents said they found pre-Christmas sales as good as the post-holiday ones. And 70 per cent said Boxing Day deals are overrated.
"It's becoming more common for retailers to offer pre-Christmas deals to keep sales strong throughout the entire holiday season," said Angela Self, co-founder of financial advice site Smart Cookies.
Some of that is the result of pressure on retailers from cross-border shopping. It’s likely not a coincidence that Black Friday sales became commonplace in Canada as the loonie sat near parity with the U.S. dollar. At these exchange rates, many consumer goods are considerably less expensive in the U.S.
But the Canadian dollar has been coming down, trading around 94 cents U.S. in recent weeks, and analysts are calling for it to fall even further. That could be good news, as it will likely keep some cross-border shoppers, including the online variety, at home.
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