Black Friday looms over us yet again, and shoppers everywhere are donning flak vests and sharpening their machetes. Normally an America-only event, like most traits from that country, Black Friday is beginning to seep up North. The rampant, often violent zombie-esque consumerism is something so distinctly American it shocks me to see Canadians getting so excited for it. Then again, the majority of our big box stores and outlets are American owned, so it makes sense that they would be implementing similar policies. Not to mention the obvious fact: offer people a slight sale and they’ll trample their own child to get it before someone else does.
As the big day slowly enters the Canadian calendar, the question remains: do Canadians care? Are we joining the masses to fight tooth and nail for a cheap PS4?
A report done last year by Vancouver based firm DIG360 showed that most Canadians avoided Black Friday sales, stating that only 27% of those polled for the survey actually bought anything. On the plus side, for Canadian retailers, very few (six percent) actually jumped into their cars and crossed the border to shop. Another interesting statistic showed by the survey was the online shopping habits of Canadians during the big day. 13% of online shopping by Black Friday shoppers was done on an American website. While not a huge statistic, it is up from 11% in 2011.
So the numbers are growing, albeit slowly. This is actually surprising considering the price difference between Canadian and American online retailers, but requiring a US postal code may have a big impact on these numbers. Add to that the often arduous and annoying process of crossing the border in person, and it’s easy to see why the majority of Canadians just can’t be bothered.
But hey, we’re gamers, and it isn’t the cheapest hobby in the world. There are a lot of kids that will expecting a shiny new PS4 under the tree this year, or if they’ve been naughty, an Xbox One. For parents, making sure your kid is happy on Christmas morning is pretty important. And for the rest of us (Looking at you Kristin) even as adults there is still that excitement deep down that the same will happen. So what retailers are offering the best deals? Let’s have a look at a few of the major ones, and see what gaming specials they have on offer for the communist nightmare that is Black Friday, and whether it would be worth your time and effort to head down to the States and score a sweet deal.
Best Buy Canada is offering the Last of Us PS4 bundle for $449.99. The exact same price can be found on Amazon.ca and EB Games. For you Microsoft fans, an Xbox One Assassin’s Creed bundle is going for $349.99- same as EB Games- as opposed to Amazon’s Sunset Overdrive bundle priced at $399.99. As we can see, the competitive pricing and insane rivalry Black Friday is known for hasn’t really affected the cost of gaming bundles up here in the north.
Or the games industry as a whole, with prices on American sites reflecting those found on Canadian ones (after doing the math of course). So what does this tell us? Basically, to stay at home, it’s not worth it. While I’m sure plenty of local department stores in smaller towns will be offering crazy deals on their select and finite inventory, the big names in the game look to have made a deal to not undercut each other too much.
Which, in my humble opinion, is a good thing, as I’d hate to see our stereotype of being generally courteous and polite tarnished by some greedy Gus who pushed an old lady down an escalator for 15% off a new iPhone. Besides, we’ll always have Boxing Day, and that’s when retailers REALLY want to get rid of things. So keep your sleeping bags packed away until camping season starts again because it just isn’t worth it.