Calgarians brave the cold weather and Omicron in search of Boxing Day deals


No matter where you went to shop, parking lots were full, lines were long at malls and Calgarians searched for that next great deal on what is typically the busiest shopping day of the year.

“A lot of customers were still waiting outside first thing in the morning in their cars, ready to come in the moment we open the doors,” said Steven Toews, Deerfoot Meadows store manager for Best Buy Canada.

“A lot of TVs have been going out the doors, (which have been) really popular, a lot of great deals on there. A lot of gaming stuff with the VR systems and phones.”

With wind chills hovering near -30 C and the recent rise of Omicron, Calgarians still flocked to big box stores and malls.

At Cross Iron Mills, one video posted to Reddit, shows massive lines outside the Nike store outlet.

However, that may not be the case nation-wide, according to one retail expert.

“People’s appetite for shopping – it’s muted overall,” said David Ian Gray, founder of Dig 360 Consulting Ltd.

Gray says recent supply chain issues have had an impact on consumer spending.

“Digging under the surface, Canadians certainly were noticing price creep coming up because of the supply chain issues,” said Gray.

Gray has analyzed and surveyed Canadians with the help of a Leger poll released this month.

It tracks consumers habits following Cyber Monday, which follows Black Friday as a bell weather for holiday intent.

Gray says he found that just under one-third of Candians felt they would spend less on gift giving.

“You’d think normally people would start to drift back to store a little bit sooner, but Omicron had different ideas,” he said.

In the same survey, that was conducted between Dec. 3 and 6, surveyed more than 1,500 Canadians.

Almost half expressed concern with getting online items delivered on time.

It also found that 36 per cent of Albertans planned to reduce gift spending this holiday season.

As Gray mentions Black Friday as a pre-cursor to what is to occur on Boxing Day, Albertans were spending on average around $236 in online shopping compared to $159 in store.

The Leger-Dig360 survey has a margin of error of ± 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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