Boxing Day shopping likely to be ‘subdued’ this year amid COVID-19, supply chain issues: expert

This Boxing Day will be a “little bit muted,” compared to other years amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and global supply chain issues, according to a retail expert.

Bruce Winder, a retail expert and the author of Retail Before, During and After COVID-19, told CTV News Channel on Saturday that overall things are going to be “sort of subdued” on Boxing Day this year.

What’s more, he said more people are likely to choose online shopping this year, instead of going to the stores.

“Omicron is spreading like wildfire through the population, [and] a lot of people are going to say ‘No, thanks, I’m not going to line up,’ or ‘I’m not feeling well,’” he said.

“You’re going to see a lot more online shopping than ever for a Boxing Day or Boxing Week.”

When it comes to supply chain issues, Winder said for small and medium-sized retailers there has “been a pretty big delay.”

“It’s been difficult to find specific items,” he said. “It all depends on who you are — If you’re a big retailer like Amazon or Canadian Tire, you’ve been able to sort of stick handle around a lot of these supply chain issues, but if you’re a small to medium-sized retailer, you really have been at the mercy of a giant supply chain which has really crawled to a snail’s pace.”

Despite the pandemic and supply chain issues, Winder said there will still be Boxing Day deals “across the board,” maybe even more than usual.

“I mean, one could argue that there could be a few more deals this year, because some inventory came in a little late this year,” he explained. “And if it came in late because of supply chain issues, then some retailers will be looking to aggressively mark it down to get rid of it so they don’t have to carry it over until [the] next holiday.”

Winder said Boxing Day shoppers should look around to make sure they’re getting the best deals.

“Double-check, because there have been some retailers who have been playing a bit of a margin game,” he said. “

Winder said some retailers may try to raise their prices because they know consumers are “buying more impulsively.”

“Just make sure you do your homework to see that whatever you’re getting is truly a really good deal,” he said. 

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