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Canadian Cyber Monday sales soar

Jennifer Kwan

In another small sign that the U.S. shopping craze is taking hold in Canada, the country's largest debit and credit card processor says its data shows consumer spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday edged higher compared to last year.

Moneris Solutions, which offers debit, wireless and online payment services for merchants, said spending on those two busy shopping days rose 6.5 per cent and 22.5 per cent, respectively.

"These two shopping days are becoming a mainstay in Canada," said Malcolm Fowler, vice president, marketing at Moneris Solutions, in a statement on Friday.

"While there have been concerns that overall spending may decrease this holiday season, Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending are encouraging for Canadian retailers going into December."

Moneris does not typically disclose dollar amounts, but it said the specialty retail category saw the most growth with radios, televisions and stereos among some of the most popular purchases on Black Friday. Apparel led the way in spending growth on Cyber Monday.

A recent Visa Canada showed Canadians see free or flat-rate shipping as the top incentive to shop at Canadian websites.

The snapshot comes as retailers around the globe ramp up ways to attract consumers this holiday shopping season. The growing online shopping phenomenon also continues to grab attention with "Mega Monday" in the UK expected to be the busiest shopping day in history. 

Canadian retailers and consumers are jumping on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday bandwagon with more U.S. retails sprouting here. At the same time, Canadian retailers are offering discounts to keep shoppers from crossing borders due to a lofty Canadian dollar.

In the U.S., Black Friday retail sales online soared 26 per cent and topped $1 billion this year for the first time as more consumers used the Internet to shop, according to data from comScore Inc, which tracks and analyzes digital trends.

Meanwhile, sales dipped slightly to $11.2 billion, according to ShopperTrack, which counts foot traffic in retail stores, as promotions on American Thanksgiving likely took a small bite out of traditional Black Friday sales.