Boxing Day 2013: How to get the best deals

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, index fingers are poised, hovering o’er the mouse.

Pardon the alternations to the beloved Christmas poem. It’s hard not to be inspired by the spirit of the season, what with the tantalizing aroma of turkeys roasting, the dazzling sights of trees all lit up and, of course, the dizzying shopping deals to be had.

Ecommerce is expected to play its biggest role yet in Boxing Day sales this year in Canada, with more than 100 retailers participating in a cyber version of the annual post-Christmas sales event, including Amazon.ca, Banana Republic Canada, Gap Canada, Lenovo Canada, Lowes Canada, Mexx, Indigo and Sears Canada.

Matthew Cheng, president of eCoupons.ca, told Yahoo Canada Finance that online shoppers should watch for deals beginning as early as Tuesday (Dec. 24), with more discounts to be unveiled over Christmas and throughout what’s come to be known as Boxing Week.

Look online for deals

Cheng said retailers are looking to take advantage of an increasing number of Canadians surfing the Internet for Boxing Day deals prior to Dec. 26.

Best Buy and Future Shop, for instance, will start its annual door-crasher sale on bestbuy.ca at 8 p.m. EST on Dec. 24. The store is offering free shipping on all orders over $20 and is promising shoppers the same access to in-store Boxing Day deals.

Canadians have been slow to catch on to the online shopping trend, which has long been popular in the United States.

Ecommerce is approaching 10 per cent of overall retail sales in the U.S. In Canada, that figure is closer to five per cent.

John Fanous, senior director of retail with RedFlagDeals.com, predicts the gap between the two countries to narrow over the next two to three years as retailers make it ever easier -- through price-matching guarantees and complementary shipping -- for Canadian shoppers to buy online.

Fanous said 2013 proved a “tipping-point” year for ecommerce in Canada. Over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, nearly one of out every two Canadians shopping at WalMart chose to do their purchasing online rather than head to a store. That’s a big difference over last year where walmart.com shoppers in Canada numbered only one in every 10.

Canada Post reported a 20 per cent bump in its usual parcel volume following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And Cyber Monday sales reached another record in 2013.

Amazon continues to lead the way online. Right now, the retail giant is known for its quick and efficient delivery service of one or two days, and is looking to move to same-day service next year.

“I think that is going to be very scary for the other retailers who are still trying to figure this (ecommerce model) out,” said Cheng.

Braving the stores? Here's where to find the deals

Don’t worry if you can’t get to a computer over the holidays. There are still plenty of deals to be had online and in stores beginning Dec. 26.

Target will kick off its Boxing Day extravanganza in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario on Boxing Day at 6 a.m. In Quebec, stores are set to open at 1 p.m., Dec. 26, while in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island will open for Bullseye Boxing Week sales starting on Dec. 27 at 8 a.m.

Top deals include:

  • 55" Element 120 Hz 1080p LED HDTV, $399.99
  • 32" Magnavox 60 Hz 720p LED HDTV, exclusive to Target, $164.99 or $156.74 with your REDcard (Regular $259.99)
  • Sony PlayStation 3 12 GB, $149.99 (Regular $199.99)
  • iPad Air Wi-Fi 16 GB, $499 plus $100 Target gift card
  • Dyson DC29 Multi Floor upright vacuum, $298.99 (Regular $498.99)
  • 65 per cent off cookware set - KitchenAid 12-pc. nonstick cookware set, $87.49 (Regular $249.99)
  • Acer 7" 8GB tablet, $99.99 (Regular $149.99)
  • Panasonic 120-watt soundbar with integrated subwoofer, $99.99 (Regular $229.99)
  • Fashion retailer Le Chateau is hoping to lure shoppers out to its stores early Dec. 26 by offering the first 100 customers a “mystery gift” coupon containing up to 70 per cent rebates and up to $1,000 to spend on merchandize. Doors open at locations across Canada as early as 6 a.m.

To get the most out of your cyber Boxing Day shopping experience, Matthew Cheng offers the following tips:

1) Many Boxing Day sale items will be available both online and in store. Availability will depend on how many items the retailer allots for its online store versus individual brick and mortar stores.

2) Before heading out to the store, compare prices online to make sure you're getting a good deal.

3) Generally, online Boxing Day sales go live at midnight Eastern Time on Dec. 26. However, some online retailers start sales at 3 a.m. EST / 12 a.m. PST, depending on the retailer's ecommerce system.

4) Boxing Day is the busiest online shopping of the year in the United Kingdom as well, and U.S. online stores hold after-Christmas clearance sales.

5) ECoupons or electronic coupons can help save additional money at checkout.

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