Black Friday 2015 Predictions Revealed

Vancouver-based retail industry think tank DIG360 has released its projections for Black Friday 2015. The team has been tracking the shopping phenomenon since 2010, and last year we reported its findings (with the assistance of Ipsos) that showed about a quarter of all adult Canadians made Black Friday purchases in 2014. DIG360's 2015 findings will be released the week of December 7, according to founder David Ian Gray. 

DIG360's 2015 projections include the following:

  1. Most large and small retailers in Canada have planned well in advance for Black Friday (and weekend) to kick off Holiday selling in 2015; and we have noted the pre-emptive Black Friday promotions beginning earlier in the week.
  2. Retailers continue to teach us to wait; more than 1/4 of adult Canadians are expected to postpone Holiday shopping until this weekend, based on an expected increase over 2014 behaviour.
  3. The proportion of Canadians 18 and older actively shopping Black Friday plateaued at 51% browsing or buying in 2014, according to the DIG360 – Ipsos Black Friday Canada Tracker,
  4. The average Black Friday weekend spend in 2014 was $296 (52% of Canadians spent between $101 and $500) -- will those who shop in 2015 spend more? DIG360 expects a 5-8% gain.
  5. It remains to be seen which retail chain will now “own” Black Friday and Boxing Day; with Future Shop no longer on the scene, can Best Buy take that position? 
  6. Shoppers will continue to be underwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the deals; retailers will continue to protect margins and sell close to regular price as far into the Season as possible.
  7. Boxing Day will continue to be our core clearance day (and some American retailers will continue to explore Boxing Day as a new promotion in the U.S.).
  8. The low Canadian dollar will mean a drop in cross-border Black Friday shopping (online and offline), and
  9. From a consumer perspective, Cyber Monday is fast becoming meaningless since the extended Black Friday is now firmly online as much as offline. 

Last year's joint DIG360/Ipsos study found a remarkable 98% Black Friday awareness, up from 97% the year before and considerably less in 2010. Despite this, the majority of respondents didn't shop Black Friday. 

“Tracking since 2010 we see 2014 as a plateau in Canadian Black Friday", said Mr. Gray last year, "and this should hold in 2015, barring an economic upturn. Furthermore, I'm not anticipating any shift to broader and deeper discounting by retailers in future years, which in fact would be bad for business this early in the Holiday Season”. The data complements anecdotal reports that shoppers are not seeing the deals expected given the pre-Black Friday ‘hype’ in 2014.  Even so, Mr. Gray points out that even this minority buying means Black Friday is entrenched here as one of the most significant shopping weekends in Canadian retail. 

“One of the more interesting changes in our data was that more Canadians are shopping from online Canadian websites for Black Friday sales”, explained Ipsos Executive Vice President Michael Rodenburgh. Last year 38% of Canadian Black Friday shoppers shopped at an online Canadian website for Black Friday deals while this year it increased to 42%. Mr. Gray explained that “the increase may be inline with the continued growth in online shopping in Canada”.

In terms of its impact on other purchasing over the November-December period, the study found 26% of those participating in Black Friday had postponed purchases until they could see what Black Friday offered.  That should increase in 2015, as retail continues to train the shopper to wait. Furthermore, 41% of Canadians browsing or buying Black Friday weekend were mostly shopping for themselves, suggesting there is plenty of Holiday shopping still to come in December.  

For more on last year's study, visit, and stay tuned for its 2015 findings.

Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: November 25, 2015