It might not have started out as a Canadian tradition, but there’s no doubt about it, Canucks have gone mad for Black Friday.
Thousands of British Columbians are expected to log on to e-commerce websites in search of deals on Friday, while even more are anticipated to pack malls and shops around the province.
The bargain hunting bonanza has grown so large that payment processing company Moneris says Black Friday has now eclipsed Canada’s historic deal-hunting holiday, Boxing Day, in terms of spending.
Only the last Friday before Christmas still sees bigger sales volume than Black Friday, says the company.
And Moneris predicts this year will be bigger than ever, with an increase in spending of between five and six per cent.
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“Boxing Day has really fallen over the last few years, there’s no question Canadians are really embracing Black Friday as the big shopping day,” said Moneris chief sales and marketing officer Jeff Guthrie.
“For years, we’ve been enticed by the Americans and their big Black Friday. There was a time when people would travel to the U.S. but now Canadian retailers have embraced it and made it their day as well.”
In Metro Vancouver, enough shoppers are expected to flock to the McArthurGlen outlet mall in Richmond that the Vancouver International Airport has issued an advisory warning travellers to expect traffic delays in the area.
Air passengers are being advised to take the Canada Line if possible, and those that drive are being told to make sure they leave early.
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With as many as half of Canadians expected to log online to try and snag a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal, shoppers are also being warned to take precautions to make sure they get what they ordered.
Vancouver police are reminding the public that there are plenty of grinches out there who aren’t afraid to ruin a holiday by stealing packages ordered online.
“A lot of people are doing online shopping and we’re asking people to plan ahead,” said Const. Jason Doucette.
“If you know you’re going to be home great, if not, consider an alternative address, maybe send it to your work, a neighbour or friend’s house. We’re asking people please, don’t tempt a thief.”
The Competition Bureau of Canada is also warning online shoppers to be wary of digital scammers.
The agency has highlighted a particular scam, the “bait and switch” as a particular Black Friday risk. In that scam, shoppers are enticed to buy an item at a bargain price, only to have that price ratcheted up later.