December 09, 2015 15:22 ET

DIG360 -- NRG Research Survey: Canadian Black Friday Popularity Surge, Alberta Shoppers Step Back, Self-Gifting, Boxing Day Intentions, More

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - December 09, 2015) -

There Was a Significant Surge in the Proportion of Canadians Participating in Black Friday in 2015 (68%)

Forty-Six Percent of Canadians Were Mostly Buying Black Friday Deals for Themselves

Forty-Nine Percent Expect to Shop Boxing Day, and 66% of Black Friday Buyers Intend to Shop That Day

Retail consultancy DIG360 Consulting Ltd. and NRG Research Group have released findings from their survey of Canadian shopping behaviour this past Black Friday promotional period. The following are highlights from the study:

Last year, almost half (51%) of adult Canadians actively browsed or bought Black Friday promotions, similar to 2013 and 2014; in 2015, those browsing or buying jumped to 68%. This is called the Black Friday Participation Rate.

While browsers who did not find anything to purchase remained constant at 24%, the increase in participation came from 44% who stated they had bought an item, up from 25% last year -- a new high water mark.

  • Regionally, participation was highest in Ontario and in the Maritimes. Quebec had the lowest incidence of Black Friday shopping from US websites and stores.
  • The Alberta participation rate matched 2014, but shifted from the biggest Black Friday shopping region to the least engaged, reflecting the poor consumer confidence in the Province. BC had the most who browsed without buying.

This was a surprise to DIG360. The increase may have been due to one or more of the following contributing reasons:

  • The fact Black Friday weekend expanded to a full week of deals this year. This was a significant increase in opportunities for Canadians to participate.
  • The possibility it was the early adopters and early mainstream who 'plateaued' in 2014, with the late mainstream arriving this year.
  • Anecdotally, retailers dependent on eastern Canadian sales are facing lower demand because of the warmer weather; this may be leading to better deals across the country this year.
  • An overall growth in online shopping in Canada supports the corresponding 9% increase in online Black Friday participation; 51% bought from or browsed a Canadian website in 2015.

Many are still not finding the right deals, as 69% of those browsing Canadian websites for Black Friday deals, and 36% of store shoppers, bought nothing.

Overall, buying or browsing deals from Canadian stores remained constant at 58% vs. 61% in 2014.

Black Friday cross-border shopping, always a minority activity, did not decline this year.

  • Overnight stays were down slightly, but 8% still did a cross-border Black Friday shopping trip, same as 2014.
  • There is still a shopping adventure to be had for a certain type of consumer.

In line with expectations, the median spend was $200, up from $175 in 2014.

53% of men and 40% women stated that they shopped mostly or all for themselves -- indicating that those shoppers still have gift shopping ahead of them. This is similar to 2014.

One in five shoppers postponed their purchases in anticipation of Black Friday, down slightly from 26% in 2014; however, 37% of buyers reported they postponed purchases in the lead up to Black Friday.

Two-thirds (66%) of Black Friday buyers are also planning on shopping Boxing Day, compared with 49% of all Canadian adults who are expecting to hit the stores and online sites December 26th.

  • Conversely, many avoid these peak sales days: 74% of those who did not participate in Black Friday are planning on sitting out Boxing Day (50% of all Canadians).

The DIG360 - NRG Research Group survey of 1,003 Canadians ages 18 years of age and older was conducted through the NRG online consumer panel the night of November 30th through December 4th, 2015. Results were weighted to reflect the distribution of Canadians by age, gender, and region.

Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:
    David Ian Gray
    Founder & Principal
    DIG360 Consulting Ltd.