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

Staff at Acropolis Manor, a Prince Rupert long-term health care facility in April 2020 where no cases of COVID-19 were reported until an outbreak on Jan. 19, 2021. As of Jan. 25th, 32 people associated with the residence have tested positive for the virus. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Staff at Acropolis Manor a Prince Rupert long term health care facility, take pride in their work place that no COVID-19 cases have been reported in the facility during the pandemic.This photo taken, April 20, from outside, looking through a window shows staff adhering to strict protocols and best practices to keep residents happy and healthy. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 numbers increase at Acropolis Manor – 32 infected

Prince Rupert man concerned about temp. staff from out of region working at long-term care facility

Ken Veldman vice president, public affairs and sustainability, at Prince Port Port Authority on Jan. 21 addressed local employers in an online presentation about a new community recruitment program to attract employees to Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
New recruitment campaign to be launched in Prince Rupert

Web platform will use community collaboration to attract new employees to Prince Rupert

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read