As the annual holiday shopping rush gets underway, Saskatchewan consumers and retailers are feeling the effects.
Adam Slobodzian, a*sistant professor of marketing at USask’s Edwards School of Business, noted the many economic pressures that affect people’s spending.
“We have inflation, which makes grocery shopping a little more expensive for everyone, we have higher gas prices, higher interest rates and higher mortgage payments, which makes the situation particularly difficult for consumers, especially during a vacation that is financially difficult for many families in Canada. “Slobodzian said.
He added that the situation is also difficult for local retailers, pointing out that the first place many people look for products is often Amazon.
Slobodzian added that many consumers are currently willing to wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals to save a little money on their purchases.
“That again puts a lot of pressure on local businesses trying to compete, or maybe they can’t necessarily compete on some of these blowout deals that Amazon has to capitalize on consumers wanting to save money and make their purchases easily.”
He said there is some skepticism about Amazon and sentiment to buy local is increasing.
That being said, Slobodzian wasn’t sure how local businesses would fare this year.
Cole Thorpe, owner of Prairie Proud in Saskatoon, stressed the importance of holiday shopping for local retailers.
“November and December are like a retailer’s harvest,” Thorpe said.
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He said they need to do well during this period to justify the rest of the year.
“Businesses that have fixed expenses like a storefront definitely feel the effects of November and December if they don’t do well in the coming year,” he said.
“It’s just a really vital time of year to try to really get out and support local businesses.”
He said that during the pandemic they had seen a lot more sales online, but now people have a hybrid approach where they can check prices online, but they come into a store to speak with someone or see the product in person.
Thorpe said he’s a little behind in sales from where he’d like to be, adding that other local businesses seem to have that in common right now.
“I know everyone is feeling the effects of this difficult time. Ultimately, I remain optimistic that the next few months will be a strong period for us.
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