Shopping locally helps Thunder Bay’s economy

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Shop Local Thunder Bay

Shop Local Thunder BayTHUNDER BAY – Shopping locally is a great way to support the local economy. However in Thunder Bay, the number of people who head south, a pilgrimage to Duluth or to Minneapolis in Minnesota are massive. Consumers often express that price and selection are motivating factors, others suggest it is simply taking a break. With a ‘PD Day’ this Friday at local high schools, it is likely once again that the numbers of people crossing the border to shop south will climb.

That is not the only traffic likely headed south over the coming months. That other traffic is online. As the holiday shopping season kicks off in the U.S., Canadians will be going online to hunt for cross-border shopping deals. A new survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Visa Canada showed that nearly 44 per cent of Canadian online shoppers say they are likely to take advantage of discounts offered on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the days following American Thanksgiving) by shopping at American online merchants – a 10 per cent increase over last year.

In Thunder Bay, local small business owners are working hard to earn your business. They are the ones who are here all year, the places that local residents can go for service, and the places that many hit up to support their local sports teams, local events, and shags.

Survey results also reveal that on average, Canadians expect to spend $220 online this year, down from $262 in 2011. Male shoppers will be the bigger spenders at $235, with women slightly behind at $208. Residents from Ontario ($237) and the Prairie provinces of Canada ($232) are the regions with the highest expected online spend, while those surveyed in Quebec ($184) are expected to spend the least during this period.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days in the U.S. and unofficially mark the beginning of the holiday shopping season,” said Ann-Marie McIntosh, Head of Strategic Solutions and Partnerships, VisaCanada. “Although overall spending levels are down from 2011, we see that more Canadians are planning to take advantage of online sales offered by American retailers this year.”

According to the survey, clothing and accessories (49%) are the most popular online purchases among Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers, followed by music or movies (37%), books or e-books (35%), toys (29%), health and beauty products (20%), computers and/or computer accessories (21%) and other electronics (25%).

Regionally, among Black Friday shoppers, those in Atlantic Canada (67%) are the most likely to purchase clothing and accessories online, whereas residents in Quebec (31%) are the least likely to make these purchases. Forty-three per cent of online shoppers polled from the Prairie provinces are planning on purchasing music or movies, compared to online shoppers polled in British Columbia (44%), Quebec (38%), Ontario (34%) and Atlantic Canada (23%).

Percentage of online shoppers who intend 
to shop at American websites over Black 
Friday weekend
National 44%
British Columbia 34%
Prairie provinces 46%
Ontario 50%
Quebec 42%
Atlantic Canada 38%

McIntosh also highlights that Canadians purchasing goods with Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards can be confident shopping online knowing they’re protected by Visa’s layers of security.

“While survey results reveal that 32 per cent of Canadians refrain from online shopping due to concerns about security, Visa cardholders can rest assured that our multiple layers of security provide the extra protection they require to make secure online purchases with confidence.”

Canadians still shopping at Canadian websites

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals attract Canadian shoppers, the survey also found that the most common type of online shopping among Canadians is a purchase from a Canadian website. Among Canadian online shoppers who have shopped at U.S. sites, their key motivators to make more purchases at Canadian sites include free or flat rate shipping (76%), better prices or deals (74%) or prices and deals equivalent to those available in the U.S. (72%).