Everything You Need to Know About Black Friday in Canada

Historically, any “Black Friday” references that we Canadians were exposed to were from American news broadcasts and magazines.

Then, the Internet exploded and the online shopping craze hit, making it simple for those north of the border to get in on the action. Not only that, not too soon after, Canadian retail outlets decided to take advantage of it in our own backyard.

With the loonie at a pretty depressing low rate, shopping in the US is probably more of a headache than a deal, after all. Either way, here are 5 things you need to know about Black Friday in Canada…

1. Canadians are fully on-board.
Black Friday is more than a buzzword for Canadians. According to a survey by IPG Mediabrands, more than half of us – or 19.3 million people – have big plans to take full advantage of Black Friday and its online counterpart, Cyber Monday. Some take it more seriously than others: 1.2 million Canadians say they will call in sick to work tomorrow. According to the Toronto Star, 10,000 businesses across Canada will participate in Black Friday this year, including 1,700 in the GTA, a figure that’s up from 8,000 businesses across Canada last year.

2. It’s keeping shoppers in Canada.
One of the biggest positives about Black Friday is that it keeps shoppers (and dollars) in Canada. A survey by UPS Canada, conducted by Leger, reveals that the number of Canadians who are likely to make purchases from the US this upcoming weekend – either online or by cross-border shopping – has dropped by 22 per cent since last year. And it makes sense; why make the road trip when you don’t have to?

3. It may be the new Boxing Day.
The timing of Black Friday just makes a lot more sense than Boxing Day, when the gifts are already purchased and you’re usually kind of  broke. As reported by CTV news, last year was the first time Black Friday sales surpassed those on Boxing Day, according to Rob Cameron of Moneris, Canada’s largest processors of debit and credit card payments. He also expects to see even better results this year. It makes sense; who wants to hit a busy shopping centre immediately following the holiday madness, anyway?

4. It’s not always amazing for retailers.
One of the best parts about Black Friday for consumers is the fact that it offers the chance to shop for the holidays without breaking the bank. The thing is, it’s not always ideal for the retailers, especially when holiday shoppers are going to shop anyway. A recent study by Statistics Canada found that the share of annual retail sales in November increased only marginally – from 8.5 per cent from 8.4 per cent – since Black Friday became a thing in Canada back in 2007.

5. The deals are real. 
If you don’t mind the crowds, or are an avid online shopper, you may want to make the most out of Black Friday  – the deals are pretty serious. For example, Best Buy has a major sale that begins tonight. Other outlets offering major deals include Toys R Us, Aritzia, Amazon Canada, Canadian Tire, and Ikea, among others. You can also keep tabs on all of them at Red Flag Deals.

Whatever you do, just remember that civilized shopping is the best shopping; you want to avoid a situation like this at all costs: