Sonya Khanna

Business Editor

 

Lights dangle merrily from faux PVC-moulded branches; festive bliss encompasses the weary, burnt-out student anxiously awaiting the post-exam holiday season and familiar jingles echo nostalgically – pretty much everywhere.

It’s time to open your arms to the joys and inevitable woes encompassing the holiday season.

The frenzy associated with holiday shopping is all-too-familiar, epitomizing the materialistic madness of the season.

With popularity of cringe-worthy consumer events such as Black Friday shedding light on the inherently cheap nature of society it comes as no surprise that Cyber Monday has gained popularity among consumers.

Although this may seem like just another consumer-capitalist inspired movement, the ease of shopping without the hassle of endless lineups and the fear of claustrophobic spaces may come as a breath of fresh air.

Cyber Monday refers to the Monday following American Thanksgiving and has rapidly become the busiest online shopping day of the year, providing consumers with a quick, stress-free substitution to the traditional form of holiday shopping.

According to a recent BMO survey conducted by Leger Marketing, 46 per cent of consumers plan to purchase gifts online for the holiday season.

Canadian consumers are quick to catch on to the growing trend with 49 per cent of males and 43 per cent of females planning to join the Cyber Monday circus.

“This is a growing trend, with almost half of all Canadians now doing at least some of their holiday shopping online,” says Douglas Porter, Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets. “As more Canadian retailers mirror U.S. sales promotions, there is the potential for significant activity on Cyber Monday. More than ever, Canadian shoppers are taking notice and adjusting their retail calendar.”

Some individuals may prefer the traditional method of shopping along with its seemingly personalized gift-giving demeanour.

For the rest, online shopping may be just the right thing to avoid hair loss due to the painful search for the perfect parking spot in a sea of crammed vehicles and enraged consumers unleashing their inner stress-provoked demons.

“Approximately 80 per cent of Canadians shop online. Consequently, retailers are increasingly providing incentives and easy access for shoppers who want the added convenience of making a purchase online,” said Cathy Pin, Vice-President, BMO Commercial Banking. “Big box stores and boutique outlets are still popular shopping destinations, but businesses can make the most of the holiday spending season by ramping-up their online presence and appealing to this growing consumer base.”

Shopping from the comfort of your home and quite possibly in the warmth of your snuggie is just one of the perks of online gift shopping.

“This year I’ve been doing a lot more online shopping for presents mainly because it’s just an buy cialis easier method of shopping,” says fourth-year Commerce student Russell Davey. “Online shopping allows me to be more specific with the items that I’m looking for. Something that you might not be able to find or that might be more difficult to find in a certain store can be easier to find online. There are just a lot more options available.”

Canadian regions most likely to be shopping online this season include Atlantic Canada, Ontario, British Columbia and the Prairie provinces at 64 per cent, 52 per cent, 46 per cent and 47 per cent, respectively.

Although many Canadians seem to be following the growing trend of online shopping with the vast popularity of newly formed consumer-driven crazes such as Cyber Monday, some may not be as welcoming to the foreign concept.

Quebec is noted as the province least likely to purchase gifts online, at 31 per cent, up from 27 per cent in the previous year.

“Online shopping is definitely less chaotic than shopping in malls during the holidays, but I still prefer the traditional method just because I feel like we lose that personal touch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as new technological improvements allow for things like online shopping and sending e-cards,” says McMaster graduate Sabreena Gill. “I always enjoy the fun little traditions like getting a hot chocolate and walking around the mall…holiday music playing in the stores and the mall Santa. That is something that Cyber Monday and online gift shopping can’t ever replace.”

The Bank of Montreal also offers a few helpful spending tips to effectively budget for the holiday season.

According to BMO, 81 per cent of shoppers are affectionately deemed last-minute shoppers. For some, this might be a non-issue, but by waiting until the last minute you risk over-spending and possibly exceeding your budget.

BMO suggests taking advantage of store sales and coupons.

Comparison shopping and seeking out store sales ensures you are getting the best price for purchased goods.

Although shopping online can save time and money, be cautious of sites that are unfamiliar and plan in advance as to avoid disappointment of late shipping.

The survey was completed online with a sample of 1,508 Canadians and projects optimistic sales figures for this holiday season, with Canadians estimated to fork out an average of $1,397, up from $1,305 in 2010.

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