Holiday Retail Shopping Trends


TransUnion’s press release spoke to Canadians’ love affair with their credit cards, with the average consumer’s total debt (excluding mortgage) increasing to $26,768.  The housing market is showing signs of slowing, marginally, in some markets and many keep an uneasy eye on their employer’s bottom line.  Will increased debt and employment uncertainty hit Canadian Retailers in the upcoming holiday season?  Arcus surveyed retail executives to find out their opinions and expectations.


Holiday Retail Shopping Trends and Social Media Market Research

Almost unanimously, respondents voiced cautious optimism.  Their customers have been clear that they are looking for bargains and retailers are doing their best to deliver.  Many retailers capitalized on the traditional U.S. “Black Friday” market by making attractive offerings available north of the border, and even on Thursday (U.S. Thanksgiving).  A few retailers, such as SportMart and Michaels, began their promotions a week in advance of Black Friday.  Retailers are optimistic that these bargains will be enough to slow the cross border shoppers are extending their hours with many major retailers open as early as 6 a.m.


How will the rest of the season shape up?


Clothing retailers in the prairies have high hopes for good sales as their customers are already well into winter season while Ontario retailers are anxious as milder temperatures (and no snow) have prevailed.  Electronics retailers expect brisk business with new ipods, WiiUs, the Playstation Wonderbook, tablets and ereaders on more than a few wish lists.


Private label goods, including Sears’ recently launched Look! line and the always popular President’s Choice from Loblaws are expected to do well and their profitability may offset any reductions in spending by credit weary consumers.


Stores with both a physical and an online presence expect to see increased demand online and hope that it does not take too much away from instore shopping.  Mastermind Toys began aggressive price discounts and special offers from the beginning of November encouraging spending by offering free shipping (and/or a discount) for reaching certain purchasing amount as well as promotional offers (special pricing, buy one get ones, etc.).


In summary, retailers aren’t counting on a full stocking at the end of the shopping season but are pretty confident that there will be more than just a lump or two of coal in there.



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Please contact Merril Mascarenhas, Managing Partner at Arcus Consulting Group at (416) 710-2727 or by email to learn more about how our insights from over 2000 C-level executives can strengthen your growth, organization and operational strategies.