Canadians spent less online during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales period than in 2021, adding to other retail data showing inflation-wary consumers are guarding their wallets more closely. Online sales were down 8% year over year, bucking the global trend of an increase of 2% to $280.8 billion, Salesforce Inc. said in its annual Cyber Week report.

Traffic from Canada also fell, down 1% year over year, although the average value of a purchase rose by 0.3% to $106, according to Salesforce. Mobile devices were the most popular vehicle for shoppers, accounting for 70% of Black Friday’s traffic, while 29% used computers and 3% used tablets.

The findings from Salesforce, which analyzes shopping data from more than 1.5 billion shoppers on its Customer 360 platform, seem to echo gross domestic product and retail sales data that indicate Canadians have been slowly pulling back on spending. Third-quarter GDP figures showed consumer spending fell 1% during the quarter. Benjamin Reitzes, managing director of macro strategy at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note that it was the first time consumer spending had fallen since 2009, barring the pandemic period. 

Statistics Canada also reported that the household saving rate rose to 5.7% from 5.1% in the second quarter. In 2019, the savings rate in the third quarter was 2.5%.

“That continues the trend of households socking away a bit extra since the pandemic, as the pre-pandemic norm was below 3%,” Reitzes said. “It appears that consumers still have the wherewithal to keep spending if they choose, though perhaps they’re just preparing for higher interest costs.”

Recent retail sales data for Canada also indicates consumers are hesitating, with sales in September falling 0.5% month over month. A flash reading for October estimated sales may have risen 1.5%, although it was unclear what role the jump in gasoline prices played.

If Canadians were more cautious this Black Friday, Americans were anything but. Sales on Salesforce platforms in the United States during Black Friday and Cyber Monday rose 12% and 8%, respectively.

Source: Financial Post
Source: Globe and Mail