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  • Jal Sonpal

Using Advertising to Win at Retail During the Most Competitive Season in Canada

As the year draws to a close, businesses in Canada are gearing up for the most competitive and lucrative season in retail. The holiday season brings a surge in consumer spending, and with the accelerated growth of retail since the COVID-19 pandemic, competition is more intense than ever. In this blog post, we will explore key strategies to excel in the Canadian retail market during this high-stakes period.

Busy retail shopping mall decorated for the holiday season

Retail Growth in Canada:

The numbers speak volumes about the promise and potential of the Canadian retail landscape. According to Statistics Canada, retail sales during the holiday season have seen a remarkable Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.61% from 2017 to 2022. In 2017, the sales during this period amounted to $104,449,665. Fast forward to 2022, and these figures have soared to a staggering $130,839,320.

However, when we start calculating only from the year 2020, (the pandemic and post-pandemic era) the country has witnessed an even more robust growth with a CAGR of 6.57%.

Reasons for this Shift:

The surge in holiday retail sales can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the pandemic's impact on consumer behaviour led to a substantial increase in eCommerce and direct-to-home (DTH) brands. This trend has made online shopping more accessible and convenient than ever before. Additionally, the influence of inflation has led to increased spending, as consumers aim to make the most of their holiday shopping budget. To succeed in this market, businesses must be prepared to meet and exceed these evolving consumer expectations.

Holiday Shopping Intentions:

The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) conducted a holiday shopping survey in collaboration with Leger, revealing some intriguing insights into consumer behaviour. Astoundingly, 90% of Canadians plan to shop during the holiday season, signifying a substantial market opportunity. Furthermore, 88% of respondents expressed their intention to shop this year, marking a significant increase from the 83% recorded in the previous year. The survey also highlighted anticipated increases in shopping intentions for key events, including Singles Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday/Week, and Boxing Day.

What can be advertised in order to win during the competitive holiday season:

To truly excel in the fiercely competitive holiday season in Canada, it's essential to understand and cater to the evolving consumer preferences. Shoppers are becoming more discerning and expectant, particularly during this high-stakes period. The RCC x Leger Holiday Shopping Survey sheds light on what consumers are looking for:

1. Sales and Promotions: 66% Shoppers are on the lookout for irresistible deals and discounts. Whether it's "Black Friday Blowout" or "Holiday Savings Spectacular," showcasing significant markdowns on popular products can grab the attention of value-conscious consumers. Strategically timing and promoting these sales is critical to maximizing their impact.

2. Free Shipping: In the age of eCommerce, the convenience of free shipping is a major draw. Offering free shipping, especially during the holiday season, can be a powerful incentive for online shoppers. With 55% Shoppers looking for free shipping, retailers should consider adjusting their shipping policies and marketing them prominently to attract cost-conscious consumers.

3. Exclusive Offers: 48% Canadian consumers appreciate feeling like they are part of an exclusive offering. Exclusive offers can be tailored to loyal customers, early birds, or shoppers who spend a certain amount. Limited-time or limited-quantity deals create a sense of urgency and exclusivity, driving higher conversion rates.

4. Value Bundles: Bundling complementary products or offering package deals can be an effective strategy. For instance, a tech retailer might bundle a gaming console with popular games and accessories at a discounted price. Value bundles not only provide savings but also simplify shopping decisions for consumers.

5. Product Sampling: In physical stores, offering product samples or demonstrations can create a tactile and interactive shopping experience. Shoppers can touch, feel, and experience the products firsthand. This is especially relevant for categories like cosmetics, fragrances, and food products. Online retailers can replicate this by offering virtual product demos or interactive experiences.

6. Distinct Online Promotions: With the surge in online shopping, having a strong digital presence is imperative. Distinct online promotions can include flash sales, online-only discounts, limited-time offers, and digital loyalty programs. These promotions can encourage shoppers to complete their purchases online and make repeat visits to your website or app.

To effectively advertise these offerings, retailers need to craft compelling marketing campaigns that resonate with their target audience. Utilizing both traditional advertising channels and digital platforms is essential to reach a broad spectrum of consumers. Leveraging social media, email marketing, and online advertising can help spread the word about your holiday deals. Moreover, partnering with influencers or running engaging and interactive online contests or giveaways can also generate buzz and excitement around your holiday offerings.

As consumers become increasingly discerning, the ability to meet their expectations and offer value-driven promotions will be a key differentiator during the holiday season. Retailers that master this art of advertising can not only attract more customers but also retain their loyalty beyond the holiday rush.

Busy retail shopping mall

Where to Advertise?

To the right people, at the right place, at the right time.

In this challenging retail landscape, it is necessary for brands to advertise exactly where their target audiences are. What retailers need is a solution where their brand can seamlessly integrate into mobile media, premium gaming spaces and maybe even into the metaverse to the. Along with that, brands are also conscious about avoiding ad spend wastage, and have various fears to deal with like ad fraud, wrong targeting, bot traffic, deal with.

With exclusive partnerships in location data, first-party data, gaming networks, creative design, and popular media channels, APEX Mobile Media is exactly the solution to drive impressive ad performance. The company’s efforts result in brand experiences that consumers genuinely want to engage with on their mobile devices. By leveraging APEX's cutting-edge solutions, you can create immersive and captivating advertising experiences that set your brand apart..

The holiday season in Canada presents vast opportunities for retailers, but it also comes with intense competition. So stay ahead of the competition by embracing innovation, aligning with consumer desires, and leveraging the capabilities of APEX.

With APEX, you can position yourself to win at retail during the most competitive season of the year in Canada. Learn more at and check out some of our Retail Specific Case Studies to see how APEX has driven success in this vertical consistently in the past.


Jal Sonpal is a brand and partnerships management strategist contributing to the marketing efforts at Apex Mobile Media. He has worked with major brands across the globe, primarily in sports and is a Master of Marketing graduate from the coveted Schulich School of Business in Toronto.



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