As the yearly scramble for holiday shopping is underway, both Saskatchewan consumers and retailers are feeling the pinch.
Adam Slobodzian, an assistant professor of marketing at the Edwards School of Business at USask, pointed out the many economic pressures that are affecting people’s spending.
“We have inflation, which is making everyone’s grocery shopping a little more expensive, we have higher gas prices, interest rates and increased mortgage payments making things especially tough on consumers, especially during a holiday that is kind of financially straining for many families in Canada,” Slobodzian said.
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He said things are also tough for local retailers, noting that the first place many people look for stuff is often Amazon.
Slobodzian added that many consumers right now are willing to wait for deals on Black Friday or Cyber Monday to save a little money on their purchases.
“That poses again a lot of pressures for local businesses trying to compete, or maybe they can’t necessarily compete on some of those blowout deals that Amazon has to capitalize on consumers wanting to save money and shop conveniently.”
He said there is some skepticism towards Amazon and that the sentiment towards shopping locally is increasing.
That being said, Slobodzian wasn’t certain how local businesses would fare this year.
Cole Thorpe, the owner of Prairie Proud in Saskatoon, emphasized the importance of holiday shopping for local retailers.
“November and December is like a retailer’s harvest,” Thorpe said.
Regina residents look for ways to pinch pennies as Christmas shopping season nears
He said they have to do well during that time to justify the rest of the year.
“Businesses that have fixed expenses like a storefront certainly 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 there and support local businesses.”
He said during the pandemic they saw much more online sales, but now people have a hybrid approach where they may check prices online but they will come into a store to speak with someone or see the product in person.
Thorpe said he’s a little behind on sales compared with where he’d like to be, adding that other local businesses seem to have that in common right now.
“I know everybody is feeling the effects of some challenging times. Ultimately I’m still optimistic that the next month-plus will be a solid time for us.”
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