Canadians Cashing in on Holiday Deals

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Woman with giftsWith the festive celebrations of Christmas and Boxing Day just around the corner, many Canadians are taking advantage of the deep discounts retailers are promoting in order to entice shoppers through the doors as the holiday rush nears its conclusion. But, as compelling as these sales events may be, evidenced by high shopper traffic in area malls, they're not convincing enough to persuade most Canadians to make it a 24-hour affair.

The survey, which was performed by Angus Reid on behalf of digital coupon firm RetailMeNot, approximately 1,000 Canadian adults over the age of 18 were questioned about their holiday shopping habits. The majority of those polled said they took advantage of sales events when they were offered. For example, more than 55 percent of respondents said that they had every intention of shopping on Boxing Day. Additionally, when asked to compare how significant Boxing Day sales promotions were compared with Christmas, nearly two-thirds said that they found Christmas price-cuts to be just as good as those they found for Boxing Day.

No matter how much they'd be able to save, though, few said that they'd be willing to stay outside a retailer's store just so that they could be the first to take advantage of a major sales event. Approximately 96 percent said they "would never be caught camping out overnight" just so that they could get a bargain on something they wanted or was for a loved one.

Angela Self, co-founder of a consumer advice and personal finance website, indicated that major sales events, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, are no longer relegated to a weekend or a five to 10-hour window.

"It's becoming more common for retailers to offer pre-Christmas deals to keep sales strong throughout the entire holiday season," said Self.

Big spending not in the cards for many

Despite an abundance of people taking advantage of markdowns on various merchandise, Canadians won't be parting with a lot of money this holiday season. The RetailMeNot survey found that nearly half of respondents intended to spend less than $100. Additionally, 50 percent of Canadians indicated that they were aiming not to go over last year's budget, hopefully staying under it.

Financial experts say that not going into the shopping season with an idea of how much one is willing to spend is one of the biggest mistakes that consumers make.

"Ideally, to avoid holiday overindulgence, a budget should be prepared well ahead of time," said Ambreen Sulman, a certified general accountant and member of the Alberta Accountants Unification Agency. "Even with the festive season in full swing, it's not too late to make a plan for last minute purchases and still keep your spending in check. Making a list of all the things you still need will help you avoid buying on impulse."

She added that establishing a budget pays off because it forces consumers to really contemplate whether a particular purchase is really worth it.

The AAUA recently put together a list of some of the biggest blunders consumers make when they're shopping for their loved ones.


  • Failing to keep tabs on every dollar spent, even for fairly inexpensive purchases.
  • Going overboard on credit card purchases to the point in which it's too costly when the bill is due.
  • Making impulsive purchases, despite having a plan in place for what specific things to buy.
  • Not having a ceiling of how much money to spend.
  • Spurning homemade gifts in favor of those that are store-bought.
  • Operating on a "worry about it later" mode of thought or behavior regarding credit card debt.

Something else that consumers often fail to remember is to insure expensive purchases, such as jewelry, furniture or tech purchases like a surround system or high-definition television. Making the necessary adjustments to a Calgary home insurance policy can provide policyholders with the protection that these items need in the event that they're damaged or stolen in the course of ownership.