Boxing Day still retail king over Black Friday in B.C.

An American contender, Black Friday, is challenging Boxing Day for its crown as Canada’s most popular shopping day. According to a report from the Retail Council of Canada, 43% of Canadians intend to shop on black Friday compared to just 34% who intend to shop on Boxing Day. But that change in shopping trends has yet to come to Vancouver, at least for the eighth largest mall in the country and the third largest mall in the province. 

Sheila Luft, General Manager for CF Richmond Centre says that Boxing Day is still the biggest shopping day of the year.

“For CF Richmond Centre what we found is that Black Friday has evolved into a strong shopping tradition now for our markets and we are expecting another strong turnout,” said Luft. “For us Boxing Day is still the busiest day of the year but Black Friday certainly tracks in the top two or three every year.”

The weekend before Christmas and Black Friday are also large shopping days that sometime surpass Black Friday for traffic. However today one can expect twice as many people to be shopping at Richmond Centre as on a regular Friday, according to Luft.

British Columbians are the most likely in the country to hit the stores this Black Friday with 91% of British Columbians expected to go shopping compared to 76% of Manitobans.  British Columbians will also spend the second most amount of money on Black Friday at $1,006, behind only Quebec at $1,332. Despite being the ones most likely to take advantage of Black Friday sales and the second highest Black Friday spenders, people in B.C. are less likely to regret their shopping choices, regretting an average of $250 of their Black Friday spending compared to $440 in New Brunswick and $508 in Saskatchewan.

Luft is not concerned that Cyber Monday, or online shopping generally will take away from CF Richmond Centre’s Black Friday success. 

“Cyber Monday and online shopping are really a different shopping experience for consumers. So while we recognize that customers may enjoy cyber Monday we find that the experience of shopping in a mall on Black Friday to just be a different experience,” said Luft. “There’s a certain amount of instant gratification with that.”

While Black Friday has increased in popularity in Canada, it does not hold the significance it once did in the U.S. The term Black Friday originated because of the importance the Christmas season had on the financial well being of retailers. Since the holiday shopping season began the Friday after the American thanksgiving, it was considered the day when businesses would be pushed "into the black" moving them from unprofitable to profitable. While the name remains the same, Luft says that Black Friday is no longer the first day of the year where retailers are profitable and is now simply a major shopping day.