Study Shows Significant 2015 Black Friday Participation Increase in Canada

Photo: n.karim-Flickr

Vancouver-based think tank DIG360 partnered with NRG Research Group to ask Canadians about their participation in Black Friday 2015. Remarkably, the study found a significant increase in participation over last year.
A total of 1,003 adult Canadians were polled from the evening of November 30 through to December 4, with results weighed to reflect the distribution of Canadians by age, gender and region. 

The study noted that last year, 51% of adult Canadians actively browsed and bought – similar to 2013. This year, however, 70% of the adults questions said they participated in Black Friday sales.

While browsers who didn’t purchase remained constant at 24%, the increase in participation came from the 44% who stated that they have bought an item – up from 25% last year.
On November 24, we revealed DIG360’s forecast that Black Friday would see a plateau in Canada. Principal David Ian Gray said he was surprised with this year’s increase, and provided the following potential reasons:

  • Black Friday weekend expanded to a full week of deals, providing increased opportunity to participate,
  • Previous early adopters and early mainstream ‘plateaued’, with the late mainstream arriving this year, possibly because of extended buying opportunities,
  • There was an increase in online Black Friday participation (51% bought from or browsed a Canadian website in 2014, up from 42% in 2014)  

The study found that Canadians browsing or purchasing deals from Canadian stores remained constant at 58% for 2015, versus 61% in 2014.  Notably, the actual buyers still tended toward stores, which were the channel participated in by 69% of buyers of Black Friday deals. While online buying is up, a significant proportion of browsing Canadians were on both US (26%) and Canadian websites (63%) without buying.
Cross-border shopping remained the same between this year and last, with 8% of respondents making a trip to the United States. DIG360 figures this represents a particular consumer that is out for that “shopping adventure”. This event-driven anomaly stands in contrast to the 34% who report shopping less all Fall at US stores (and only 6% stated they have increased their cross border shopping over this time).
Median spend among shoppers questioned was $200, in line with DIG360’s expectations and ahead of 2014’s median of $175. About 46% of respondents stated that they shopped mostly for themselves, indicating that they still have more gift shopping ahead of them. The study also found that about a third (37%) of Black Friday buyers had postponed purchases in anticipation of this sales event.

Finally, the study asked respondents about Boxing Day 2015. Approximately half of Canadian adults said they’d buy on Boxing Day.  This proportion rises to 66% of Black Friday buyers, reinforcing the perception that a core segment of the population are dedicated deal hunters, as these also have a higher likelihood of cross border and US online shopping. Conversely, 50% of Canadians reported that they would not buy anything on Boxing Day this year.