When Did Black Friday Become a Canadian Thing ?

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt's home


Is it just me or is Black Friday creeping into Canada retail more and more? Our border buddy’s influence is always there. But in the game of retail it’s more than present; it’s strong.

I’m all for starting early, being prepared and snagging a deal. Black Friday should be a “yes” in the Sarah books. I think it is. What I mean to say is I appreciate the mass scale of it all. National Retail Federation estimates that nearly 136 million Americans will be shopping this weekend. 2014 Consumer spending is reportedly $380 per American person shopping for a total of nearly $62 million across the states. SAS reports that Canadians are catching up to our neighbours with 22% saying they will be shopping this weekend (it’s 39% in the USA). 

As retailers try lure shoppers with their offers the increasing numbers mentioned proves that we are happily responding. Not only are we lining up hours in advance there are websites and posts dedicated to sharing the best apps for finding the best deals. Even the dates of the sales period have spread over the years to accommodate shoppers varying schedules. Also, if you want to skip the craziness of the crowds, online shopping and Cyber Monday can come to the rescue. There’s something for every shopper.

Like any hot trend, many stores are trying anything to get in the “black.” I started digging. Canadian retailers like Indigo Chapters, Best Buy and the soon to be in Calgary Simon's are all hoping on the traditional “Black Friday” sales sleigh by gearing up to be busy and sell, sell, sell.

Another Canadian brand, LuluLemon, is taking a different approach by launching an all black fabric, niche collection Friday. It’s not on markdown but it will surely tap into the appetite of their massive market in their own untraditional way. 

The counter culturists are using the draw of Black Friday too. REI (akin to Canada’s MEC) is closing up shop for the day encouraging it’s shoppers to stay true to the intent of the brand by getting out and enjoying the outdoors. It’s #OptOutside campaign taps into the love of the natural adventures by creating a win win situation: get outside and don’t worry about REI (REI staff is getting a paid day off to go play outside too). 

Of course the ultimate “F You” to Black Friday is not shopping at all. 

If that’s too severe, may I suggest the palate cleansing Giving Tuesday? Spread some of that holiday gift giving kindness by donating to a deserving charity or non-profit. You can give to your favourite organization by clicking here

While Black Friday retail, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday numbers are growing yearly, Boxing Day still has the hearts (and likely the wallets) of Canadians. In the same SAS report mentioned above 64% of Canadians prefer to wait for Boxing Day shopping to the 60% that said they prefer Black Friday. Add those preferences to our continuing weak dollar make our former cross border trips an economic “no-no” brainer in 2015. I’ll be watching the consumer post holiday reports to see how many Canucks stayed put and spent at home. 

Whatever you choose, choose to give with the intent of sharing true joy with those you love. That’s the real gift of the season.


Looking for help finding the right gift? Let’s go for coffee and make a plan.