Shoppers carry bags as they cross a street in San Francisco, Nov. 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeff Chiu

Shoppers carry bags as they cross a street in San Francisco, Nov. 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeff Chiu

‘A captive market:’ U.S. border closure keeps Black Friday shoppers in Canada

Black Friday originated in the United States as a post-Thanksgiving shopping event

Cross-border shopping is a quintessential part of Black Friday for some Canadians.

But with the Canada-U.S. land border closed to non-essential travel to limit the spread of COVID-19, hopping over the border for holiday shopping isn’t an option this year.

For Canadian retailers, the closure has created a captive market — at least for in-store shopping.

“In previous years, a lot of Canadians would just pop over the border to take advantage of the crazy deals down in the U.S., which often surpassed what we were getting in Canada,” says Tandy Thomas, an associate professor in the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

“But the ability to do that easy cross-border shopping is no longer there.”

Thomas says the border closure creates a more favourable environment for Canadian retailers.

“They don’t have to compete with their U.S. counterparts in the same way,” she says. “It’s literally a captive market.”

Black Friday originated in the United States as a post-Thanksgiving shopping event. It became well-known for its big discounts, massive crowds and a frenzied shopping atmosphere.

Although it has become a mainstay of holiday shopping in Canada as well, U.S. retailers have still lured Canadians across the border with doorbuster deals.

Yet with the loonie worth about 77 U.S. cents, it’s possible few shoppers would have bothered travelling south of the border.

“With the dollar being what it is, it’s not exactly a bargain to go down there,” says Tim Sanderson, executive vice-president and national lead for retail with JLL Canada.

“But there’s still lots of people who like to go for the variety.”

Diane Brisebois, president of the Retail Council of Canada, says the border closure, coupled with an increased push to buy local, will benefit Canadian retailers this holiday season.

“We strongly believe there will be more Canadians making that extra effort to shop in a local brick-and-mortar store as well as find them online,” she says.

READ MORE: Online shopping set to hit record this year in Canada

Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusRetail

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

District of Vanderhoof municipal office. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof business can apply for a façade improvement program

The program provides funding up to $5,000 to update the look of the commercial property façade.

Kiah Thiessen-Clark and Kate Thiessen-Clark from W.L. McLeod Elementary won third place in their grade during the science fair held by School District 91. (SD91/website)
SD91 District holds Science Fair; announces 2021 finalists

Several finalists were from EBUS Academy and W.L. McLeod Elementary

(Photo - Pixabay)
NVSS Queer Alliance group in Vanderhoof launch “Share the Love” campaign

Sense of community, empowerment and positivity are the visions of the NVSS group

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Fort St. James municipal office. (Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
Fort St. James officials challenge Telus on internet speeds

Telus denies inaccurate internet data, residents urged to self-test and report

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

Most Read