Brace yourself for the quintessential calculus of post-Christmas consumerism: are hour-long lines and potential shoving matches a fair trade for discount prices?
The madness of Boxing Day is nigh. Originally intended as a day for unsatisfied gift recipients to unload their snowflake-pattern sweaters and reindeer-themed dinner plates, Boxing Day is now best known as a frenzy of heavily discounted prices and overly aggressive shoppers.
Thankfully, however, that reality is changing. Thanks to online shopping, Canadians can now avoid the in-store melee and instead hunt bargains from their living rooms. According to CyberBoxingDay.ca, a web site that collects online Boxing Day deals, Dec. 26 is the busiest online shopping day of the year in Canada. Here are some things to consider if you're planning on ditching the real-life checkout counter for its digital namesake this year:
The sale starts early
Traditionally, Boxing Day is marked by a single day of frenzied, crowded chaos in most of the country's malls (though in many places Boxing Day sales now last a week or longer). But thanks to online shopping, many stores have begun releasing their sale prices early. Retailers such as Future Shop, Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire have already made their Boxing Week sale flyers public, and web sites such as RedFlagDeals.com have collected many of those flyers on their forums. As such, customers can decide what they want to buy ahead of time, and in many cases can actually purchase those items as early as today, skipping the in-store lineup altogether.
More than electronics
Like its cousin Cyber Monday, the Digital version of Boxing day is commonly associated with discounts on electronics. Indeed, some of the most popular purchases on Boxing Day include video game bundles like Microsoft's Xbox and its assorted games and peripherals, as well as high-definition TVs. That's no longer the case, as all kinds of retailers have hopped on the online bandwagon. Furniture giant Leons launches its Boxing Day sale on its web site Monday, and clothing retailer Roots follows on Christmas day. In addition, online retailers such as Amazon are launching Boxing Day deals on some of the countless products available on the web site, from books to watches.
Perhaps the best way to find deals this Boxing Day is to consult the online hive mind. Many web sites have sprung up in recent years catering exclusively to bargain hunters, and some of those sites are now effectively a bulletin board for deals. In addition to Red Flag Deals, which runs a massive bargain hunting forum, sites such as SmartCanucks.ca and BargainMoose.ca have proven a gold mine for Canadian shoppers.