Black Friday searches trump Cyber Monday queries heading into holidays

Canadians also still shop in-store more than than online, according to Google research.
Holiday Shopping

Canadians may be doing more of their holiday shopping online, but Black Friday continues to trump Cyber Monday as the more searched-for shopping occasion, according Google search data.

The tech giant’s most recent holiday shopping study, conducted with Ipsos between Nov. 2018 and Jan. 2019, found that 79% of consumers started thinking about their purchases two weeks or more before shopping, with a portion of them (11%) beginning even before the summer.

Throughout the holiday season, online shopping was found to drive in-store visits. Digital search remains highest throughout the shopping period, except for the two weeks leading up to Christmas, at which point 78% of shoppers head to physical stores for last-minute gifts (versus the 66% who continue searching online). On average last year, Canadian shoppers spent 43% of their time shopping online and 57% browsing offline.

In spite of consumers’ preference for online shopping early in the season, Google searches for Black Friday far exceeds those for Cyber Monday, according to the most recent Google Trends data. For example, on Oct. 14, 2019, one of the days on which searches for Black Friday has peaked this year (representing a maximum search score of 100), relative interest in Cyber Monday was just 13 (with a score of 50 representing half the search interest of Black Friday).

Moreover, Canadian searches for Black Friday have gradually increased over the last five years, with queries beginning as early as September this year.

Over the last 30 days, searches for Black Friday were highest in the Northwest Territories (whose relative score was 100), followed by Manitoba (54), Saskatchewan (51), Ontario (49) and Newfoundland and Labrador (48). (Values are calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is the location with the most popularity as a fraction of total searches in that location, and 50 being half as a popular).

Combined, the Black Friday-Cyber Monday period remains crucial for closing the deal with shoppers. According to Google’s holiday report, retailers sell more online online in one hour on Black Friday than during a full day during the summer, and 49% of shopping activity that week results in a purchase.

By the end of Christmas week last year, shoppers had still not completed 7% of their holiday shopping, and the number of in-store visits remained as high as just before Christmas. During the post-holiday period, more shoppers begin making personal purchases, with 66% of people indicating they are looking for themselves (as opposed to 54% overall).