Black Friday

Best Black Friday Deals from 150+ Retailers in Canada 2021

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Black Friday is on Friday, November 26, 2021 in both Canada and the US. It is held on the day after the US Thanksgiving federal holiday which is the fourth Thursday of November every year. Cyber Monday will be on Monday, November 29, 2021.

Below you will find some of the best deals available as well as the start and end dates for the online sales at 150+ retailers in Canada. We’ll be updating this guide LIVE, so if you want to keep track of the latest and greatest deals, be sure to bookmark this page!

150+ most popular Black Friday retailers in Canada

The following are the most searched-for retailers in Canada based on search engine data, sorted by category:

RetailerPopularityStartEndDiscount (up to)CategoryIncludes
Lululemon9,900Nov 2530%ApparelSelect tights, pants, shorts, joggers
Roots4,400Nov 25Nov 2825%ApparelAlmost everything
Nike3,600Nov 1529%ApparelSelect shoes, sportswear
Canada Goose2,900NoneNoneApparelTheir official store never has any sales or discounts. Check re-seller Nordstrom.
Zara1,900Nov 2540%ApparelSelect coats, boots & vests
Mark’s1,900Nov 25Dec 170%ApparelSelect winter boots, jackets and apparel
Aritzia1,900Nov 2450%ApparelSelect items
Knix1,600Nov 2450%ApparelSelect bras, leggings and underwear
Patagonia1,300NoneNoneApparelWeb specials only. Stopped Black Friday sales to encourage folks to spend the day outdoors
Adidas1,300Nov 1640% + 10% logged inApparelSelect shoes, bras, hoodies, joggers
Simons720Nov 22Nov 282x ptsApparelSitewide
H&M590Nov 26Nov 2620%ApparelSitewide
North Face590Nov 25Nov 2840%Apparel200+ jackets, tops, pants
Mackage480None40%ApparelSelect styles
American Eagle480Nov 2530%Apparel500+ tops, PJs, dresses
Old Navy480Nov 1550%ApparelSelect pajamas, sweatshirts, hoodles
Uniqlo390NoneApparel
SSENSE390Nov 2550%ApparelWide selection
Gucci320NoneApparel
La Vie en Rose320Nov 26ApparelSelect intimates
Under Armor320Nov 1640%ApparelSelect hoodie, boxers, pants
Nordstrom320Nov 15Nov 2667%ApparelSelect apparel, accessories
Urban Outfitters260Nov 26Nov 2625%ApparelSitewide*
La Senza260Nov 2530%ApparelSitewide
Moose Knuckles260Nov 25Nov 2930-40%ApparelSelect styles
Victoria’s Secret260Nov 2440%ApparelSelect PJs, robes & panties
Gap210Nov 23Nov 2740%ApparelSitewide
Reitmans210Nov 17ApparelDaily deals
SHEIN210Nov 1675%ApparelSelect dresses, coats, sweatshirts
Eddie Bauer170Nov 1850%ApparelSelect jackets, shirts and pants
Joe Fresh140Nov 25Nov 2825%Apparel150+ apparel, accessories
Hollister140Nov 22Nov 2940%ApparelSitewide*
Ardene110Nov 24Nov 2850%ApparelWide selection
Banana Republic110Nov 24Nov 2740%ApparelSelect sweaters, dresses, jackets
SAXX Underwear90Nov 2520-40%ApparelSitewide*
Bluenotes50Nov 25Nov 2875%ApparelSitewide
Lacoste50Nov 2540%ApparelSitewide*
RW&CO50Nov 2440%ApparelSelect sweaters
tentree50Nov 2450%ApparelSelect pants, shirts & jackets
Abercrombie & Fitch50Nov 22Nov 2930%ApparelSitewide*
Harry Rosen40Nov 2440%Apparel
PrettyLittleThing10Nov 2650%ApparelSitewide
Tilley0Nov 2430%ApparelSelect jacket, sweaters, hats
Frank & Oak0Nov 22Nov 2830%ApparelSitewide
DUER0Nov 2240%ApparelAlmost everything
Sheertex0Nov 1560%ApparelSitewide
Dyson1,900Nov 25Dec 2$150AppliancesVacuum, styler, fan
Coast Appliances20Nov 24Dec 230%AppliancesSelect appliances
Michael’s210Nov 24Nov 2760%Arts & CraftsWide selection
Urban DecayNov 2650%Beauty30 eyeshadow, mascara, makeup
Nyx CosmeticsNov 26Nov 2830%BeautySitewide
KerastaseNov 26Free giftsBeauty
BiothermNov 2425%BeautySitewide
Kiehl’sNov 24Nov 2825%BeautySitewide
AvedaNov 2425%BeautySelect items
Sephora2,400Nov 26Nov 2950%BeautyBestsellers
Bath and Body Works720Nov 22Nov 27Buy 3 get 3BeautySelect soaps, candles, body care
Lush590Nov 26BeautySelect bath bombs
London Drugs590Nov 2550%Beauty
Yves Saint Laurent7020%BeautySelect perfume, lipstick
Deciem50Nov 1Nov 3023%BeautySitewide
It Cosmetics30Nov 25Nov 2925%BeautySitewide
Clinique30Nov 2430%BeautySitewide
401 GamesNov 26Nov 2610%Books & GamesSitewide*
Indigo1,000Nov 24Nov 2840%Books & GamesSelect books, toys and gifts
Book Outlet90Nov 1525%Books & GamesSitewide
Le Creuset390Nov 2625%CookwareSitewide*
Williams Sonoma30Nov 2450%CookwareSelect items
Zwilling10Nov 15$350CookwareSelect knives, pots, pans
Prime CablesNov 2470%ElectronicsSelect cables, stands & mounts
Best Buy27,100Nov 15Nov 2860%ElectronicsSelect headphones, TVs, laptops. “Black Friday Price Now”
Apple3,600Nov 26Nov 29~10-15%ElectronicsApple Gift Card with purchase
The Source1,600Nov 25Dec 150%ElectronicsSelect controllers, headphones and mice, TVs
Canada Computers1,300Nov 1225%ElectronicsSelect laptops, RAM, monitors
Visions1,000Nov 25Dec 180%ElectronicsSelect TVs, soundbars, headphones, appliances
Dell1,000Nov 1530%/50%/29%ElectronicsSelect laptops, monitors, PCs
Newegg590Nov 22Nov 2742%ElectronicsSelect monitors, towers, power supplies
Lenovo480Oct 18Dec 666%ElectronicsSelect laptops, monitors & tablets
Samsung390Nov 16Dec 2ElectronicsSelect phones, tablets, smartwatches
Memory Express320Nov 20Nov 29ElectronicsSelect CPUs, MOBOs, RAM
Bose260Nov 1845%ElectronicsSelect headphones and earbuds
Microsoft170Nov 26$500ElectronicsSelect laptops, tablets, gaming accessories
HP170Nov 1655%ElectronicsSelect laptops, monitors, printers
Bentley LeathersNov 2660%FashionWide selection of luggage
KitsNov 26$99 off, 15% offFashionGlasses, contacts
Mr Big & TallNov 2440%FashionSelect outerwear
Tip TopNov 2450%FashionSelect outerwear
Coach1,000Nov 1760%FashionSelect totes, crossbody bags, backpacks
Michael Kors390Nov 16Nov 2675%FashionSelect bags, backpacks and crossbodys
Fossil210Nov 1640%FashionSelect watches, bags, wallets
GodivaNov 2450%FoodSelect chocolates, gifts
David’s Tea260Nov 2650%FoodSelect tea
HelloFresh170Nov 22Nov 30$150FoodMeal kits
Maritime Madness0Nov 16Nov 2120% sitewide, 30% code: BTBFFoodSitewide
IKEA2,400Nov 26Nov 2925%FurnitureAs-is used/returns/floor models products
Leon’s1,600Nov 25Dec 150%FurnitureSelect sofas, mattresses,
The Brick880Nov 26Nov 29$1100FurnitureSelect big screen TVs
Structube590Nov 2625%FurnitureAll rugs
Article210Nov 15Nov 2935%FurnitureSelect tables, chairs and sectionals
Wazo Furniture0Nov 15Nov 2830%FurnitureSitewide
GameStop (EB Games)1,600Nov 19Nov 2975%GamingSelect video games
Steam720Nov 24Dec 175%GamingSelect video games
Nintendo480Nov 24Nov 30GamingSelect Nintendo games
PlayStation210Nov 19Nov 2960%GamingSelect PS4/PS5 video games
Green Man Gaming30Nov 24Dec 170%GamingPC video games
Shopper PlusNov 2620%GeneralSitewide
Walmart9,900Nov 25Nov 2850%General1000+
Canadian Tire5,400Nov 25Nov 2870%GeneralSelect tools, appliances, tires
Hudson’s Bay4,400Nov 2670%GeneralWide selection
Amazon4,40055%GeneralAmazon Devices
Costco3,600Nov 22Dec 550%GeneralSelect items
Wayfair2,400Nov 1680%GeneralSelect furniture, rugs, lighting and decor
Aosom10Nov 112%GeneralSitewide
Ray Ban90Nov 2450%GlassesSitewide
EyeBuyDirect70Nov 24GOGO + 25%GlassesSelect glasses, sunglasses
Sunglass Hut30Nov 2450%Glasses2000+
Gymshark880Nov 1870%Health & FitnessSelect shirts, joggers & tanks
Perfect LensNov 24Nov 3020% + 2x ptsHealth & WellnessSitewide
ClearlyNov 2480% frames, 40% lensesHealth & WellnessSelect frames & lenses
Saje320Nov 2520%Health & WellnessSitewide
Zenni Optical30Nov 15$25Health & WellnessSitewide
Well.ca10Nov 24Nov 2950%Health & Wellness1000+
Shopper’s Drug Mart10Nov 20Nov 21Health & WellnessSelect items
UmbraNov 25Nov 2860%Home Furnishings150+ items
SelectBlindsNov 24Nov 2455% + 10% if >$500Home FurnishingsSitewide
Bed Bath & Beyond320Nov 1650%Home FurnishingsSelect rugs, appliances, bedding
Bouclair170TBAHome Furnishings
West Elm110Nov 24Nov 2940%Home FurnishingsWide selection
Pottery Barn90Nov 2440%Home Furnishings1000s
Crate & Barrel90Nov 2450%Home Furnishings1000s of items
Linen Chest70Nov 1550%Home FurnishingsSelect kitchen, bedding and decor
Vitruvi50Nov 21Nov 2930%Home FurnishingsSitewide
Home Depot2,900Nov 25Dec 140%Home ImprovementSelect power tools, equipment and home supplies
Lowe’s720Nov 1550%Home ImprovementSelect items
Rona590Nov 1750%Home ImprovementSelect tools, equipment
Blue NileNov 24Nov 2850%JewelrySelect rings, earrings, necklaces
Mejuri880Nov 24Nov 2920%JewelryPurchases $150+
Swarovski720Nov 21Nov 3025%JewelrySelect items
Pandora590Nov 24Nov 2830%JewelrySitewide*
Peoples Jewellers0Nov 1550%JewelrySelect jewelry
Lovehoney0Nov 17Nov 3060%MiscSelect lingerie, toys
Long & McQuade320Nov 26Nov 28$100Music300+ instruments, equipment
Cosmo Music110Nov 25Nov 2915%Musical Instruments150+ speakers, equipment, microphones
123ink.caNov 2460%OfficeSelect cartridges
Staples2,400Nov 25Nov 2650%OfficeSelect office chairs, writing supplies and laptops
PetSmart320Nov 25Nov 2850%Pets1000+ food, treats, toys
The Mobile ShopNov 24Nov 29300,000 ptsPhones & PlansPhones & plans
Telus3,600Nov 18Phones & PlansBring in your old phone to get new phones at low monthly fees
Rogers2,900Nov 16Phones & PlansTrade in iPhone 11 for iPhone 13 $5/mo for 24mo
Fido2,400Nov 17Phones & Plans12GB, ultd Canada-wide T&T – $50/mo x 9mo, $40/mo x 15mo
Bell1,600Nov 18Phones & Plans20GB of data for $80/mo
Koodo880Nov 25$100Phones & Plans12GB, ultd Canada-wide T&T – $40/mo x 24 months
Shaw480Nov 24Phones & Plans
Freedom Mobile480Nov 21Phones & Plans
Virgin Mobile480Nov 17Nov 2950%Phones & Plans12GB, ultd Canada-wide T&T – $50/mo x 9mo, $40/mo x 15mo
SaskTel210Nov 25Phones & PlansSave $10/mo for 12 months
Videotron210Nov 16Nov 29Phones & Plans
Public Mobile30Nov 17Dec 1Phones & Plans2GB bonus
Plant Collective0Nov 1550%PlantsPlants, succulents
Foot Locker880Nov 2425% off $149Shoes1500+ shoes & apparel
Vans390Nov 25Nov 29$25 off $100ShoesSitewide
Puma260Nov 2450%ShoesSitewide*
SoftMoc260Nov 2430%ShoesSelect boots, slippers & sneakers
Timberland260Nov 2420%ShoesSelect work & winter boots
Aldo210Nov 2550%Shoes500+ boots, bags and shoes
The Shoe Company110Nov 2420%ShoesSelect sneakers & boots
Reebok110Nov 2450%ShoesSelect sweatshirts, pants & shirts
Hunter Boots70Nov 2630%ShoesSelect boots
Rockport70Nov 2440%ShoesSelect shoes and sandals
Vessi30Nov 630% +$25 per $110 spentShoesSitewide
Sleep Country170Nov 15BOGO 50% pillowsSleepSelect mattresses, pillows and bedding
Endy110Nov 11Nov 2810%SleepSitewide
Silk & Snow70Nov 22Dec 510%SleepSelect mattresses, beds & bedding
Casper70Nov 15Nov 23$500SleepMattress
GhostBed10Nov 18Dec 330%SleepMattresses
Essentia0Nov 16Nov 2825%SleepMattress & bedroom collection
Puffy0Nov 15$300SleepSelect mattresses
Simba Sleep0Nov 15$200 + 10%SleepSelect mattresses
Sport Chek1,900Nov 25Dec 160%Sports & OutdoorsSelect shoes, jackets and apparel
Cabelas720Nov 22Nov 2645%Sports & OutdoorsSelect headphones, earbuds, soundbar
MEC480Nov 2355%Sports & OutdoorsWide selection of clothing & gear
Golf Town390Nov 22Dec 150%Sports & OutdoorsSelect apparel, rangefinders
Sail210Nov 10Nov 2950%Sports & OutdoorsSelect boots and jackets
Columbia Sportswear140Nov 2450%Sports & OutdoorsAlmost everything
Sporting Life110Nov 2440%Sports & OutdoorsSelect shoes, jackets and equipment
Atmosphere110Nov 15Dec 130%Sports & Outdoors1000+
Altitude Sports90Nov 15Nov 2635%Sports & Outdoors9000+ jackets, boots & apparel
Pro Hockey Life20Nov 26Dec 250%Sports & OutdoorsSelect skates, sticks, apparel
Running Room20Nov 24Nov 29Sports & Outdoors
Black Circles0Nov 2415%TiresSelect tires
Toys R Us1,300Nov 2650%ToysSelect toys
Lego590Nov 26Nov 29ToysSelect sets

*Terms, conditions & exclusions may apply.

In Canada, the earliest deals typically start around the beginning of November, but most brands and retailers start their Black Friday sales mid-month. Some even extend through Cyber Monday to the following weekend.

Best Black Friday deals by retailer

Amazon

Best Buy

You get their “Black Friday Price Now” on their pre-BF items – guaranteeing to refund you the difference if their prices go any lower on the day of.

Walmart

Canadian Tire

Up to to 70% of a wide range of products including:

Apple

Buy an eligible product and get an Apple Gift Card worth $70 to $280:

Costco

Home Depot

Up to 40% off select power tools, equipment and home supplies:

IKEA’s “Green Friday”

IKEA is offering additional value and savings on their sustainable used furniture buy-back program. They they sell the items as-is for affordable prices – giving their used furniture a second life and keeping it out of landfills.

  • Nov 1 to 14: Sell your used IKEA furniture for 1.5x the sell-back value and get in-store credit.
  • Nov 20 to 28: HUVUDROLL vegetable balls are buy one, get one 50% off (in-store only)
  • Nov 26 to 29: IKEA Family members get an additional 25% off of circular hub (as-is section) items
  • Nov 27 (10am to 4pm): gently used home furnishings and electronics to IKEA and get $25 off of $150 coupon (valid until Dec 4).

Adidas

40% (+10% for logged in “members”) off shoes, bras, hoodies, joggers and more using code BLACKFRIDAY.

Bed Bath and Beyond

Samsung

Get Google Play Credits when you purchase a:

  • Galaxy Z Flip 3: $1,259.99 (save $130 between November 16th and December 2th)
    • + Get a $150 promotional credit + a credit for the trade-in value of your eligible smartphone

Tablets

  • Galaxy Tab S7+: $919.99 (save $450 between November 24th and December 2nd)
  • Galaxy Tab S7 FE: $669.99 (save $240 between November 10th and December 2nd)

Laptops

Smartwatch

  • Galaxy Watch 4: $329.99 (save $80 between November 16th and December 9th)
    • + Get a $100 promotional credit + a credit for the trade-in value of your eligible smartwatch

Shopper’s Drug Mart

Bonus Redemption Event (Nov. 26 to Dec. 1)

  • 70,000 points = $70 plus a $30 bonus points offer for $100
  • 130,000 points = $130 plus a $70 bonus points offer for $200
  • 250,000 points = $250 plus a $150 bonus points offer for a $400

Lululemon

Get up to 30% off their “we made too much” sale on leggings, joggers, hoodies and more – including the Wunder Under leggings that Lulu was originally known for – in a wide variety of colour options.

Most popular products on Black Friday in Canada

The following are the most searched-for products in Canada based on search engine data, sorted by popularity:

ProductPopularity
Nintendo Switch3,600
iPad2,900
Laptops2,900
Airpods2,400
Apple Watch2,400
TVs2,400
Blundstones1,600
Phones1,300
PS51,000
Gaming Chair880

Electronics (TVs, Laptops & Tablets)

TVs

Laptops

Tablets

Computers and accessories

Gaming

Nintendo Switch

Buy a Nintendo Switch at regular price and get a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and 3 months of Nintendo Switch Online at no additional cost – $379.99

Nintendo games

Get the following games for $54.99 ($25 off) at all Nintendo retailers including Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
  • Splatoon 2
  • Super Mario Maker 2
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King
  • Kirby Star Allies
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
  • Bravely Default II

Digital deals will hit the eShop on Nintendo Switch

Smartwatches

  • Galaxy Watch 4: $329.99 (save $80 between November 16th and December 9th)
    • + Get a $100 promotional credit + a credit for the trade-in value of your eligible smartwatch
  • Fitbit Versa 2 Smartwatch – $149.95 (35% off)
  • Fitbit Versa 3 Smartwatch – $199.95 (33% off)

Phones and phone plans

iPhone

  • Certified Pre-Owned phones (eg. Samsung Galaxy S10+) with Tab Mid and Tab Plus – $1/month for 24mo at Koodo
  • iPhone 13 128GB (Bell) – $0 down and $47.30/month on SmartPay; $100 gift card
  • iPhone 12 mini 128GB (Fido; save $468) – $0 down and $17.92/month on financing; $200 gift card
  • iPhone 12 64GB (Rogers) – $0 down and $40.84/month on financing and Infinite Plan; $200 gift card
  • 12GB, ultd Canada-wide T&T – $50/mo x 9mo, $40/mo x 15mo = $1050 – moving from Rogers to Fido an extra $5 off per month
  • iPhone 12 128GB (Koodo) – $0 down, $33.33/mo, $100 gift card or credit for old phone + $200 Best Buy gift card at Best Buy
  • iPhone 12 Mini $0 down, $15/mo + Fido 10GB Plan $50/mo and get a $200 Walmart Gift Card at Walmart

Android

Phone plans

  • 12GB, ultd Canada-wide T&T – $50/mo x 9mo, $40/mo x 15mo = $1050 at Fido/Virgin
    • $35/mo additional lines
    • Waived activation & SIM card fees
  • 12GB, ultd Canada-wide T&T – $40/mo x 24 months = $960 at Koodo
    • $35/mo additional lines
    • Waived activation & SIM card fees

Walmart, TheMobileShop and Best Buy offer $50 gift card

Kitchen

Fashion

Headphones and audio

Toys and games

LEGO

Home improvement

Sports and outdoors

Black Friday shopping guide

Shop early due to product shortages

Shopping early is recommended this year by a number of sources due to ongoing global supply chain issues and shortages caused by the pandemic and the bullwhip effect. If there is a specific product, brand or size you plan on gifting, it may not be available to arrive before Christmas if you wait too long to buy it.

To help relieve this pressure, a number of companies are offering early Black Friday deals this year, which lets you get a head start on your Christmas shopping.

It is hard to say which brands and retailers will run into shortages due to the complexity of the supply chain issues, but it is more likely in a category that has:

  • Experienced increased demand due to recent trends,
  • Ships from overseas (eg. China), or
  • Includes a computer chip

such as electronics, furniture, books, bikes, video games, toys, clothing, appliances and board games. The supply of artificial Christmas trees, decorations and ornaments is expected to be 20 to 25% lower and the ongoing chip shortage means everything from gaming consoles, laptops to smart TVs will be in shorter supply.

However, products with high demand and limited supplies (eg. Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X/S) are the ones where substantial deals are much less likely. We recommend buying them early if you have any concerns about their future availability. If they are discounted at all, look at that as an added bonus.

On the other hand, most products that are being promoted by retailers in Black Friday ads are either in ample enough supply or are in lower demand by consumers, so you can afford to take a wait-and-see approach and see if a better deal comes along.

How to find the best deals on Black Friday?

The early deals typically feature different items than the sales offered on the day of and are generally discounted to a lesser extent. Discounts are typically better as the day approaches:

RetailerEarly DiscountBF Discount
Vessi30% sitewide30% + $25 GC per $110 spent
Aosom12% sitewide15% sitewide
Adidas40% sitewide40% + 10% logged in “members”

Planning, discipline and speed will help you get the most out of the sales:

Know what you’re looking for to minimize impulse purchases

It is really easy to get caught up in the excitement and overspend. Figure out ahead of time how much you can realistically afford to spend and what your budget is. Then decide what specific products (eg. Fitbit Versa 3) or types of products (eg. video game for PS5) you’re looking to buy for you and/or gifts for others. If the purchase isn’t required for the holidays, consider waiting for Boxing Day sales.

Rank these items in order of importance so you can prioritize shopping because you’re certainly not the only person looking at them and supplies may be limited as outlined earlier.

Check ratings and read reviews (including those here on Cansumer) beforehand to find the options available in Canada that best fit your use case and budget. A poor quality product at a super cheap price is still a bad deal.

Know what a good price is to avoid ‘fake’ deals

Higher demand for consumer goods, supply chain issues and inflation have all lead to higher prices, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ensure you aren’t overpaying or getting a price that is artificially inflated. The following services will give you an idea of the historical prices of a product, including the recent highs and lows and can notify you if the price drops:

Price comparisons can still be challenging as many of the best deals are for models that are either exclusive to the retailer or to the sale.

Add start dates to your calendar

Use the dates in the table above to mark the start of the sales at your favourite retailers on your calendar.

Subscribe to retailers to get in early

Many retailers will give you the option of signing up for email notifications about their Black Friday sales. Some even give email subscribers access to the deals a day or two early or an additional discount in return for signing up to their email list.

For example:

  • Mejuri gives their email subscribers access to their sale 2 days before anyone else
  • Samsung Canada will give you a $25 e-voucher for signing up

Buy at retailers that guarantee prices

Best Buy is offering a price guarantee on their sale items so if their prices go any lower during their Black Friday sale, you can submit a price matching request and they’ll refund the difference.

Get notifications when a product is back in stock

The shift from in-person to online shopping means you no longer have to deal with as many crowds and lineups, but instead you may have to compete with bots buying up PS5s, graphics cards, sneakers and other products – basically anything with a limited supply that is in high demand – which unfortunately describes many of the best/doorbuster deals on Black Friday. And unlike shopping in-person, adding a product to your shopping cart

While not illegal, bots make it difficult for ordinary consumers to access good deals in a fair way. If a product you want is “out of stock” or “currently unavailable”, you may have to get a bot of your own to keep an eye on the product page.

The following services can track changes on product pages and send you a notification if the price changes or it is back in stock. They are particularly useful for online stores that aren’t monitored by a dedicated price tracker:

  • Distill Web Monitor for monitoring any component of a web page including price or availability and get a notification when the price changes or it is back in stock
  • Visualping for monitoring website pages and getting alerts when the content changes

Are Black Friday deals worth it?

While there are always a few standout deals, most offers aren’t particularly noteworthy and are similar to those offered at other times of the year such as Amazon Prime Day, Labour Day and Boxing Day as retailers often reuse and recycle the same deals year after year. For example, Walmart Canada states that around 10% of their 1,000 deals listed are the lowest prices of the year.

Some retailers seem to simply publish their regular sales flyer, title it “Black Friday” and call it a day. However, the timing relative to the holiday season makes it a good opportunity to buy gifts.

Items needed for Christmas preparations and gifts such as toys, luxury goods, bedding and winter clothing are always in higher demand around Black Friday, so retailers typically hold off on sales until last 2 weeks before Christmas as well as Boxing Day and into the new year.

‘Fake’ deals with inflated regular prices

There is evidence that some retailers artificially inflate their “regular” prices before sales start. In the US in 2012, Market Track tracked an 8% increase in prices beforehand for 366 of the 1,743 products they monitored and in 2013 360pi found that average prices across 8,000 products did not change significantly on Black Friday, and in many cases actually increased in the days leading up to it.

This makes the steeper discounts look better in percentage terms than they actually are to create a false sense of urgency and encourage impulse purchase decisions. This works very well as illustrated by a classic example of this practice:

In a 2012 presentation, Mr. Johnson, then still JC Penney’s CEO, said the company was selling fewer than one out of every 500 items at full price. Customers were receiving an average discount of 60%, up from 38% a decade earlier. The twist is they weren’t saving more. In fact, the average price paid by customers stayed about the same over that period. What changed was the initial price, which increased by 33%.

The Dirty Secret of Black Friday ‘Discounts’, WSJ

This practice is legal in Canada as long as the product is up for sale for a “substantial period of time” at that price or higher, but corporations can be fined up to $10,000,000 for a first time infraction. The ordinary selling price (or “regular” price) can refer to either the retailer’s regular price or the regular price offered by other retailers in the market and is determined by using one of two tests:

  1. Volume test: A substantial volume of the product was sold at that price or a higher price, within a reasonable period of time, or
  2. Time test: The product was offered for sale, in good faith, for a substantial period of time at that price or a higher price.

As a consumer, the best approach is to focus on how good the final sale price is and try not to be distracted by implied savings and large percentage discounts.

Black Friday in Canada vs US

The deals in Canada are generally considered not as good as those offered in the US. Deals in the US are often better with bigger price cuts than in Canada – even at the same retailer.

The strength of the Canadian dollar to the American dollar has played a large part in the how good the deals are in Canada. From 2007 to 2014, the dollar was at parity, giving shoppers near the US-Canada border greater purchasing power and major Canadian retailers had to offer their own deals to discourage them from traveling over the border to shop.

In years past, “doorbuster” or “door crasher” deals in the US have created large crowds as well as scuffles and altercations leading to a number of injuries and deaths over the years. While Canada has had its long lineups and crowds, the event usually goes much more smoothly. This could be due to Canadians living up to their reputation of being orderly and polite, or it could be that our deals are simply not that good.

The crowds and lineups may be a thing of the past as shopping shifts from in-person to online, with:

  • online sales doubling in Canada between 2013 and 2019 from $136B to $305B
  • many brick-and-mortar retailers in Canada closing or filing for bankruptcy
  • these trends being accelerated by the pandemic: retail e-commerce sales more than doubled from February to May 2020, to a record of almost $4 billion.

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest sale events of the year in Canada.

In the past, Black Friday was predominantly held in-store, and Cyber Monday was centered around online sales. Now Black Friday deals are both in-store and online, whereas Cyber Monday sales are usually just online.

With the extension of some early Black Friday deals all the way back to beginning of November and some Cyber Monday deals turning into Cyber Weeks or longer, the events have functionally merged together into one long pre-holiday season sale with new deals and announcements throughout.

In general, deals on Cyber Monday are a little bit better than pre-Black Friday, but waiting that long might mean you miss out if the product sells out. If you see a deal on a product you want or need for a gift that is within your budget and can handle missing out on saving a few more dollars, then it is time to checkout and be done with shopping.

What is the history of Black Friday?

The phrase “Black Friday” was originally used to mark the gold panic in 1869 when decreasing gold prices caused a US stock market crash (and as an aside, is an interesting read).

The day after Thanksgiving has long been considered the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season in the US since at least 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Presidential Proclamation to move Thanksgiving from its original date of the last Thursday in November, to the second-to-last Thursday to lengthen the Christmas shopping season and assist the economic recovery from the Great Depression.

The term “Black Friday” was first used to describe the Christmas shopping rush in Philadelphia in 1961 when it was used by police to describe the crowding, congestion and commotion created by the heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic the city experienced the day after Thanksgiving.

The term “black” is commonly used to describe days when major calamities have occurred – typically in the stock markets – such as “Black Monday” in 1987 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost almost 22% in one day or “Black Wednesday” in 1992 when the UK’s pound sterling crashed.

As the term continued to grow in popularity, there were attempts in the early 1980s to distance it from the negative connotation of disaster and misfortune by suggesting that the colour black instead had to do with retailers getting “back into the black” (becoming profitable) thanks to the Christmas shopping season.

The deep discounts have been known to produce a great sense of urgency and scarcity leading to long line ups and scuffles over products – particularly in the US.

Since as early as 2001, Canadian consumers have traveled to the US for Black Friday deals. Black Friday and Cyber Monday came to Canada in 2008 as Canadian retailers had to start offering similar deals in order to compete with the US and discourage shoppers from leaving the country.

Black Friday statistics in Canada

How popular is Black Friday?

According to Moneris, in 2020, Black Friday overtook the Friday before Christmas as the day with the most retail sales and is more popular than Boxing Day.

  • 37% of Canadians bought at least one Black Friday promotion in November 2019, up from 34% in 2018. (Dig360)
  • 19% of Canadians, bought on Friday November 29th, up from 17% in 2018. (Dig360)
  • Participation has been fairly consistent since 2013. (Dig360)
  • 43% of Canadian shoppers plan to buy on Black Friday vs 35% on Cyber Monday and 34% on Boxing Day (RCC)
  • Canadians plan to spend $792 in 2021 holiday shopping season, up from $693 in 2020. (RCC)

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday, Boxing Day & Amazon Prime Day

It is one of the most popular shopping days of the year in Canada, and interest has been increasing year over year based on search data, whereas interest in Cyber Monday has continued fade:

Search data

For consumers in Canada, it is by far the most interest-generating sales event of the year with a 64% share of the total average monthly search volume of the 4 biggest events. It is about 6x more searched for than Cyber Monday, 5x more searched for than Amazon Prime Day and 2-3x more searched for than Boxing Day based on 2020 data from 3 search data sources.

SourceBlack FridayCyber MondayBoxing DayAmazon Prime Day
SEMrush201,00041,70059,30040,500
Google Trends507257
Ahrefs215,00037,00046,00036,000

US estimated ecommerce revenue

YearBlack FridayCyber MondayAmazon Prime Day (48 hours)
2021$9.5B$11.3B$11.2B
2020$9B$10.8B$10.4B
2019$7.4B$9.4B$7.16B
2018$6.2B$7.9B$4.19B
(Adobe Analytics)

Over to you

We’re interested to know – do you make a point of shopping on Black Friday? Do you shop more for yourself or for early Christmas gifts? Know of a sale going on that isn’t listed? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

About the author

Alex Wideman

Founder of Cansumer. Consumer rights advocate, serial entrepreneur and educator. For over 10 years I’ve been creating consumer-focused online resources, and I started this website in 2018 to help other Canadians find the best gear and save time and money. LinkedIn Read more

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