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Is Boxing Day changing for Montreal shoppers?

Click to play video 'The changing face of Boxing Day' The changing face of Boxing Day
WATCH: Boxing day can be chaotic for shoppers, especially if you’re trying to score some of the biggest deals. But as Global’s Phil Carpenter reports, there’s been a change in how people do their shopping – Dec 26, 2019

Boxing Day can be pretty chaotic for shoppers, especially if you’re trying to score some of the best deals.

That was the case in Montreal, where some people lined up in the cold to for good bargains.

“It was -10 degrees outside, but as soon as we came close to … 8 o’clock, we had about 70 people,” laughed Remi Sammoun, district manager for Best Buy.

READ MORE: Boxing Day 2019: What’s actually worth it and which deals to ditch

But the throngs of shoppers crowding city streets could be misleading — especially in Quebec.

According to a Holiday Shopping Survey published by the Retail Council of Canada, in November, more shoppers planned to shop for Black Friday than Boxing Day.

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According to the survey, only 34 per cent of Canadians planned to shop on Boxing Day this year. In Quebec, the number dropped to 27 per cent — the lowest in the country.

“It means that people start to shop earlier with specials which they didn’t used to have before,” explained Marc Fortin, president of the Retail Council of Canada, Quebec.

The popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, he said, is cutting into Boxing Day shopping.  In the study, 43 per cent of Canadians and 39 percent of Quebecers said they plan to shop on Black Friday.

Then there’s online shopping, which retail experts also blame for the decrease in Boxing Day shoppers.

READ MORE: Unpacking Boxing Day: The unclear origins of the post-Christmas holiday

Customers, too, are seeing the differences between the two shopping events.

“There’s less people on Boxing Day than for Black Friday, for sure,” customer Angelica Favreau told Global News while shopping at Best Buy on Ste. Catherine Street in downtown Montreal.

“I think people already bought their gifts for Christmas.”

Sammoun pointed out that the clientele for the two shopping events aren’t the same.

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“Black Friday, they come in, they shop for gifts, for the holiday gifts,” he said.  “Now they treat themselves. They come in, they buy big TVs and computers.”

Click to play video 'Thinner U.S. crowds but Black Friday goes global' Thinner U.S. crowds but Black Friday goes global
Thinner U.S. crowds but Black Friday goes global – Nov 29, 2019

But even with the rise in Black Friday popularity, retailers think Boxing Day is here to stay —”because it’s a tradition that’s been entrenched for quite a while,” Fortin stressed.

And according to Sammoun, there are advantages to that.

“It’s good for Canada because we have two events for our customers to shop [at],” he smiled.

Customers like Marlon Ngapmen, meanwhile, see a silver lining in the smaller crowds

“Black Friday — it’s way too many people,” he said.  “For Boxing Day, you have time to plan and think about what you want and save for it.”

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He believes it offers a potential new advantage to holding off hunting for a deal until after Christmas.