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

A BC Hydro outage is affecting nearly 4000 customers in Kitimat. The cause of the outage is under investigation. (Screenshot/BC Hydro Outage Map)
Cable fault responsible for Kitimat power outage, BC Hydro says

At its peak, the BC Hydro power outage affected near 4,000 customers

Graph showing the 2020 passenger totals at the Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace. (Submitted/Northwest Regional Airport)
New year brings an end to a turbulent 2020 at Northwest Regional Airport

Passenger totals half of what they were in 2019

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

The leisure pool at the Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre will be open Thursday and closed Friday for maintenance, the DoK said in an updated Facebook post Thursday (Jan. 14). (Kitimat Leisure Services photo)
UPDATE: Leisure pool at Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre open Thursday, closed Friday

The leisure pool will be closed Friday (Jan. 15) for maintenance due to a mechanical issue

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read