‘One of the biggest shopping days’ of the year: Manitoba kicks off Black Friday

It’s one of the biggest shopping days on the calendar — a day that, until relatively recently, didn’t mean much to Manitobans.

In 2022, however, Black Friday — once a U.S.-only affair — is big business for local retailers and consumers, marking an unofficial start to the holiday shopping season.

“This really is one of the biggest days in shopping in Manitoba,” said Manitoba Chambers of Commerce president Chuck Davidson.

“It’s something that’s happened over the past 10-15 years. Boxing Day always used to be number one.

“Black Friday was always an American thing, but as more and more retail started happening in Canada, a lot of those reasons that Canadians would go south of the border to go shopping on that day no longer exist there. All the retail that you’re looking for exists in Manitoba.”

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Davidson said the next five weeks are a “make or break” time for many retailers, who are hoping to rebound after two years of pandemic-related uncertainty.

“This will be a critical time because it’s the first time in two years as well (where) we haven’t had any restrictions in terms of shopping.

“I think there is going to be that appetite and I think retail is going to be providing that incentive to get people into stores.”

Click to play video: 'Black Friday at Kildonan Place'

Black Friday at Kildonan Place

Read more: Winnipeg boutique offers sustainable alternative to Black Friday

Sandra Hagenaars, general manager of Winnipeg’s Kildonan Place mall, told Global News she thinks that despite that appetite for people to get back into stores, consumers are going to be more careful about their shopping this season, which means items like gift cards may be more prevalent this year than in the past.

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“One of the things when we talk to customers is that you can consider things like a gift card,” Hagenaars said.

“When someone buys a gift card, they’re kind of controlling their spending, they set the amount they want to spend, and then the recipient can spend it as and when they want to … but I do think there’s been a lot of pent-up demand as well.

“The last two Christmases, face it, have been tough ones. I think we’re seeing a lot of optimism.

“People are looking to get out and celebrate with family again … but I think people will exercise some restraint.”

If you feel like Black Friday sales seem like they’re starting earlier and earlier each year, you’re not alone — businesses are trying to get a jump on the holiday season as much as they can.

Click to play video: 'Marketer talks Black Friday shopping trends'

Marketer talks Black Friday shopping trends

Read more: Shopping local versus big box on Black Friday in Winnipeg

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“Right now we’re seeing Black Friday lasting longer than one day,” said Charmaine Jennings of marketing and public relations agency Strategic Charm.

“It used to be one day long, then a week long, then a weekend long — and now stores have started their Black Friday deals as early as Nov. 10, so a lot of people are trying to elongate the shopping season to give people more time to plan for their budget.

“This year we’ve seen people release a lot of deals as early as September…. I think that trend’s going to continue on. A lot of people are a lot more budget conscious, and they need more time to take advantage of those deals.”

Click to play video: 'Shopping locally on Black Friday'

Shopping locally on Black Friday

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