DIG360 Report: Almost 3/4 of Canadian Shoppers Avoided Black Friday Sales in 2013


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Despite the hype, almost 3/4 of Canadian shoppers avoided this year's Black Friday sales. 

David Ian Gray

, a brilliant Vancouver-based retail expert and founder of


Consulting Ltd, provided

this press release

including the following conclusions: 

  • Those who shopped did most of their shopping in Canada, 
  • US websites were preferred to cross-border stores, 
  • These figures corroborate anecdotal retailer reports.

VANCOUVER, BC (December 5, 2013) — DIG360 has released its findings of Canadian shopper behaviour around retail Black Friday 2013. Three-quarters (73%) of Canadians surveyed using


did not participate in Black Friday sales, substantially lower than many pre-event forecasts suggested. 

Interestingly, 28% browsed Black Friday promotions but in the end did not pull the trigger on a purchase. This aligns with DIG360 observations that Canadian retailers appear to be well organized on inventory levels and not so quick this year to be panicked into early and deep discounting. 

However, the good news for Canadian retailers is that most of those shopping for deals stayed in Canada. While it does not take more than a few hundred extra cars to back up a border crossing, only 2% of Canadians cross-border shopped US stores for Black Friday deals (similar to our findings in 2011 and 2010). A slightly higher number of Canadians (4%) shopped US websites. 

“According to retail executives with whom we spoke, the 20% of Canadians who shopped stores here at home generated a decent kickoff to the Holiday shopping period,” noted David Ian Gray, DIG360 Retail Strategist, “this is a good reality check rather than a disappointment.” Gray points out that Black Friday in Canada is less a reaction now to cross border spending, and more about encouraging Canadian consumers to begin their Holiday Shopping – particularly with fewer weekends in December this year. 

The survey was developed by DIG360 and completed by a representative sample of 1,005 Canadians 18 years old and over from the AskingCanadians™ online research community. The survey was conducted in English and French from December 2 - 4, 2013. 

Notable findings from the DIG360 survey, using AskingCanadians™: 

  • 73% did not purchase a Black Friday sales item (27% shopped, compared with the 47% projected in a widely circulated pre-event poll). 
  • Of the 27% who did buy, only 6% crossed the border and bought from US store (fairly similar to 2011); 13% shopped online from a US website (up from 2011). 
  • Or restated, 1.5% of all Canadians cross-border shopped a US store; 3.5% of Canadians shopped online from a US website. 
  • 20% of Canadians (or 73% of those participating in Black Friday shopping) did so from a Canadian bricks and mortar retailer. In 2011, 11% of all Canadians shopped a store in Canada for Black Friday items. 
  • 10% of Canadians (or 38% of those shopping Black Friday) bought from a Canadian website (4% in 2011). 
  • 28% of Canadians browsed the deals, but opted not to buy. 
  • Quebec residents had the lowest participation in Black Friday shopping (17%) and lowest awareness of the event (9% unaware vs. 3% overall). 
  • Retailers were reporting a growing trend this year of online orders and in-store pickup. 

About DIG360 

DIG360 Consulting Ltd. helps retail and “retail minded” executives focus or recharge sustainable growth through strategies that resonate with the right target audiences through better customer experiences and relationships. David Ian Gray leads DIG360; he is a recognized expert on shopper trends and retail strategies, producing high-impact business intelligence and original studies for and about the sector. DIG360 blends diverse professional backgrounds and personal beliefs full-circle, reflecting our strength in integrative thinking and making connections at all compass points around a challenge. 

About AskingCanadians™

AskingCanadians, a Delvinia company, was established in 2005 as an online data collection firm dedicated to helping market researchers gather high quality information from Canadian consumers. We own and manage the AskingCanadians online research community, and its French counterpart Qu’en pensez vous, which includes a panel of more than 250,000 demographically representative and profiled Canadians. The result is an average response rate that eclipses the industry. For more information, please visit