Canadians are still shopping: Why you should keep the lights on for last-minute and Boxing Day shoppers

Chris Chan / December 2018 / Consumer Insights

Earlier this season, we learned about the four types of Canadian holiday shoppers — and that 22% of them tend to leave things to the last minute (nearly 40% are shopping throughout the season, too).1 While Black Friday-Cyber Monday may be freshly behind us, there’s no question that holiday shopping is still in full swing — and Canada’s biggest shopping days are yet to come.

Throughout this season, we’ve been gathering insights into how consumers are approaching their holiday shopping. Now we have some real-time trends in what they’re searching for to share with you. Here’s what you need to know to win with those last-minute shoppers.

Shoppers still have a lot left to do — and they’re doing it on mobile

Just after the week of Black Friday-Cyber Monday, Canadian shoppers said they still have 60% of their shopping left to do.2 While many say they’ve headed to the store in the past few weeks, they’re estimating that about half of their shopping time so far has been spent online.3

In fact, more shoppers have used search this season (either on their computers or smartphones) to look for items they are shopping for rather than going to the store.3 This year, search interest for “black friday” was the highest it has been in the last five years,4 telling us that online is playing an increasingly important role for holiday shoppers.

And mobile has been a crucial tool for shoppers this season: 45% of online purchases so far have been completed on a smartphone,5 and more than half of Canadian shoppers have used apps to shop — with a third of those saying they downloaded new apps this season.3   


As the window for online purchase delivery dwindles, shoppers are turning to their phones to help them be more efficient last-minute buyers. During the 2017 holiday season, searches for "can i buy" increased throughout the month of December, peaking just three days before Christmas.6

Decisions are being made online, even when in the aisle

Shoppers are using mobile to help them be more efficient in-store and to find the items on their lists. So far this season, Canadian shoppers turned to search before heading to stores in 70% of their shopping occasions,7 and 1 in 3 shoppers said they have used their smartphone when they were in the store.3    

So far, only 1 in 3 purchases were made on impulse, including in-store purchases.8 But there’s still plenty of opportunity to win over undecided shoppers: nearly 80% of Canadians say they still have decisions to make about the gifts that remain on their list.2 In fact, fewer than 2 in 10 have decided on a brand or retailer for the items they are thinking about or actively researching.

Canadian holiday shoppers are also open to trying something new. One in four have already shopped with retailers they hadn’t purchased from before.3 And they’re checking your app, too: more than half say they have used shopping apps, including retailer and coupon or flyer apps.

Remember: The year’s biggest shopping days are still to come

In past years, the biggest shopping day of the year for Canadians is the “Super Saturday” before Christmas Day (December 22 this year). So the holiday gift hunt is far from over.

In fact, search trends indicate that Boxing Day becomes top of mind as early as Black Friday for Canadians. Over the past 30 days, search interest for “boxing day” spiked on Black Friday,10 indicating customers may have been considering holding out for Christmas clearance sales to make purchases.


Recently, searches for “store hours” in Canada have peaked on Christmas Eve, the highest day of the year.11  

And get this: mobile searches for "christmas" + "clearance" have grown by over 150% in the past two years.12 And mobile searches for "gift card balance" have grown by over 90% in that same time period.12 

When considering where to focus your holiday spend, don’t forget to include Christmas week and Boxing Day in your holiday forecasting and to keep the lights on — these latest insights tell us that there are still many shoppers you can reach this year.

Want to win the holiday season? Get to know these four types of Canadian shoppers