Black Friday popularity growing, but not everything’s a good deal

It’s the Black Friday buzz and a deal hunter’s delight.

The images are all too familiar, American shoppers clustered together waiting for the stores to open with the sometimes frantic rush to take advantage of deals. In recent years, those lines have been getting longer in Canada.

Black Friday is a product of a condensed Christmas shopping season in the U.S., with much of the focus from Thanksgiving Day until the last weekend of November, when the shopping flood gates open.

Professor Scott Connors is a Western University researcher specializing in consumer behaviour, he says, “There’s the people who love the experience of Black Friday, that just love the rush of getting in there, trying to get deals and fighting for things.”

A Retail Council of Canada poll showed more people planned to shop on Black Friday than on Boxing Day this year. The survey found that 43 per cent of consumers plan to shop on Black Friday, 34 per cent on Boxing Day and 32 per cent on Cyber Monday.

Connors says the poll results reflect consumer needs, “When we’re looking at pre-Christmas shopping, you’re shopping for other people, you’re purchasing gifts. You have your lists. You know how many people you have to shop for. You know your budget. So any opportunity to save or stretch the budget is really going to play well.”

White Oaks Mall General Manager Jeff Wilson says that, while we don’t get the long holiday weekend like shoppers in the U.S., the mall was still buzzing on Friday.

“Today will be one of our busiest days. It’s always a toss-up, the last few of years, between Black Friday and Boxing Day, and we’ll find out after the weekend where we sit.”

Whether it’s Black Friday or Boxing Day, Connors advice is to not get caught up in the marketing hype; make a list, have a plan and do your best to stick to it.

“There are things like loss leaders to get us into the stores. And you’re creating this notion of scarcity and just convincing consumers that they’re really getting a deal when sometimes that’s not really objectively what’s going on there.”

A recent poll by Equifax found that 55 per cent of Canadians plan to spend less this Christmas than last Christmas.

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