Black Friday shoppers flock to malls amid inflation and longer sales

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Black Friday, the biggest shopping event of the year, has arrived with a flurry of promotional emails, online ads, and paper flyers. Many Canadians are eager to hunt for deals on Friday, with shopping in brick-and-mortar stores expected to make a comeback after pandemic restrictions.

New research from professional services firm JLL suggests Canadian shoppers will be more frugal this holiday season but also keen to buy in stores. A survey of 982 Canadians conducted from late October to mid-November found that 90 percent of respondents plan to spend time in shopping centers, though most will research online first.

“Shoppers are going to physical retail (stores) like it’s 2019,” the JLL 2022 retail holiday survey report said. “Fewer shoppers are hesitant to shop in person.”

Annie Titheridge, who drove from King City north of Toronto to the Yorkdale Shopping Centre for the day, said she prefers to shop in stores. “I prefer to touch and feel products before buying,” she said. “It does get crowded but I still enjoy the experience.”

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Inflation and supply chain issues affect holiday budgets

However, not everything is rosy for retailers and consumers this year. Inflation and supply chain issues have made goods more expensive and harder to find, affecting holiday budgets and shopping habits.

Indeed, two-thirds of respondents to a recent Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada survey said inflation will make it harder to buy gifts this holiday season. More than one in five Canadians also expect to take on debt to pay for gifts, the poll of more than 2,000 Canadians by CPA Canada conducted by Ipsos earlier this fall found.

Titheridge said she is hoping to find some good bargains on Black Friday because things are more expensive now. “My husband recently retired so we’re trying to be more careful with how we spend our money,” she said.

In its 2022 holiday retail outlook, Deloitte Canada said overall holiday spending is expected to drop this year amid skyrocketing inflation, recessionary concerns, and higher interest rates. The report also said that supply chain disruptions and labor shortages could lead to product shortages and delivery delays, prompting consumers to shop earlier and locally.

Black Friday sales extend beyond one day

To cope with these challenges, many retailers have extended their Black Friday sales beyond one day, offering discounts and deals throughout November and beyond. Some have also invested in improving their online platforms and delivery options to cater to the growing demand for e-commerce.

“It’s less about a single day and more about a prolonged period,” said Eric Morris, managing director of retail for Google Canada. “It has morphed in Canada from Black Friday and Cyber Monday into many, many weeks of heightened commercial activity.”

Morris said that online shopping is still popular among Canadians, especially for categories like electronics, toys, and books. He said that Google has seen a 40 percent increase in searches for Black Friday deals compared to last year.

However, he added that some consumers still prefer to shop in person for categories like clothing, beauty, and home decor, where they can see and touch the products. He also said that some shoppers enjoy the social aspect of going to the mall with their friends and family.

“People are looking for experiences,” he said. “They want to have fun and feel the festive spirit.”

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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