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5 things you should know about Black Friday/Cyber Monday in Canada

As we prepare for the busiest shopping period of the year, here are a few interesting facts about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
By Spencer Callaghan
Senior Manager, Brand & Communications

As we prepare for the busiest shopping period of the year, here are a few interesting facts about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Some traditions never change, like watching Die Hard on Christmas Eve, and there are others that morph with the times.

Take Canadians’ approach to holiday shopping, for example. For decades, Boxing Day was the biggest shopping day of the year, but increasingly the pull of Black Friday and Cyber Monday from south of the border has had an impact on our shopping behaviour.

As we prepare for the busiest shopping period of the year, here are a few interesting facts about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

1. Canadians are planning to do a lot of online shopping.

According to a study from, 85 per cent of Canadians plan to shop online this holiday season. The same report found that shoppers plan to spend an average of $546 on holiday gifts. 

2. Boxing Day has lost the shopping title

Hitting the shops on Boxing Day has been a quintessentially Canadian (actually British) tradition for decades but that has changed dramatically. The momentum of online shopping, combined with the expansion of U.S. retailers into Canada, has led to a shift in Canadian shopping habits.

A recent survey from the Retail Council of Canada found that only 34 per cent of respondents planned to shop on Boxing Day, compared with 43 per cent who will take advantage of Black Friday deals and 32 per cent who will log in on Cyber Monday.

3. Black Friday isn’t that new.

The Black Friday hype originates in the 1950s, as Americans used the day after their Thanksgiving holiday to get started on their holiday shopping. The origins of the “Black” name come from the idea that it is the day of the year where most retailers get out of the red and become profitable.

Black Friday really entered the mainstream in the mid-2000s as it grew to be the most popular shopping day of the year in the United States in 2005. Its popularity in Canada really started to take off in 2008 as the Canadian dollar reached parity with the U.S. dollar making the sales even more enticing.

4. Canadians prefer to buy local.

Despite its origins as a U.S. phenomenon, Canadians have made Black Friday and Cyber Monday their own. Canada’s Internet Factbook found that 64 per cent of Canadians prefer making online purchases from Canadian retailers when they have a choice. 

When looking to buy local, Canadians look for a .CA domain name to indicate that a company offers simple shipping options, easy returns, and shopping in Canadian dollars.

5. Digital and physical experiences are merging.

Cyber Monday evolved as an e-commerce response to Black Friday, but recent retail trends show that customers increasingly don’t see much of a difference.

Canada’s Internet Factbook found that 80 per cent of Canadians compare prices online before buying in-store. We often refer to this as webrooming, where consumers use the vast research and comparison power of the internet to augment their in-store experience.

Conversely, the same study found that 46 per cent of Canadians rarely or never browse in-store before making an online purchase online. We call this showrooming, and Canadian retailers like Canadian Tire and Chapters/Indigo are increasingly providing options for their customers to shop wherever they like and have a consistent, hassle-free experience.

No matter how you plan to shop this holiday season, remember that a .CA domain is a surefire sign of a business that understands Canadians, provides a seamless shopping experience, and supports the local economy.

About the author
Spencer Callaghan

Spencer Callaghan is the senior manager, brand & communications at CIRA. He is a writer, former journalist, and has experience in technology, non-profit, and agency environments throughout his career. His areas of expertise include content marketing, social media, branding, and public relations.