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Black Friday 2016: Is it Worth it to Shop in the United States on Black Friday?

Black Friday 2016: Is it Worth it to Shop in the United States on Black Friday?

By Simon Hung

Once upon a time, Black Friday was a convenient excuse for many Canadians to head south of the border to shop, but with the sagging dollar, that trend seems to have diminished significantly. In fact, only 20% of users who voted in our poll are planning a trip to the US this year in our roundup of American Black Friday flyers.

We did one of these comparisons last year and we’re doing another one for 2016 with five deals from a few American Black Friday flyers to see if it’s really worth it to take an impromptu road trip on November 25. In our analysis, we considered items with savings of over $100.00 vs. comparable Canadian products "worth it," but there are some caveats we'll mention at the end.

We made some conservative estimates for the adjusted CAD pricing of each deal we examined:

  • Currency conversions were made via Google Finance, but your bank will likely convert at a higher rate
  • A round trip gas cost of $20.00 CAD was added, using a trip from Toronto to Buffalo as reference
  • Sales tax, duties and extra costs like meals and parking are not included

Best Buy

Product
USD Price (Adjusted CAD Price)
Comparable Canadian Product
Worth it?
Dyson V6 Animal Stick Vacuum$299.99 USD ($422.00 CAD)$599.99 at Hudson's Bay
iRobot Roomba 655 Vacuum$279.99 USD ($395.00 CAD)$399.99 at Costco.ca
PlayStation 4 500GB Uncharted 4 Bundle$249.99 USD ($355.00 CAD)$379.99 at Best Buy
Samsung 50” 4K Smart TV$397.99 USD ($554.00 CAD)$899.99 at Best Buy
Xbox One S 500GB Minecraft Bundle$249.99 USD ($355.00 CAD)$379.00 at the Microsoft Store

Target

Product
USD Price (Adjusted CAD Price)
Comparable Canadian Product
Worth it?
Apple iPad Air 2, 32GB Wi-Fi$274.00 USD ($389.00 CAD)$499.00 at the Apple Store
Apple iPad Pro, 9.7”, 32GB Wi-Fi$449.00 USD ($623.00 CAD)$799.00 at the Apple Store
Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones$119.99 USD ($180.00 CAD)$229.99 at Best Buy
Hisense 50” 4K TV$249.99 USD ($355.00 CAD)$699.99 at The Source
Samsung 55” 4K Curved Smart TV$697.99 USD ($957.00 CAD)$1499.99 at Best Buy

Walmart

Product
USD Price (Adjusted CAD Price)
Comparable Canadian Product
Worth it?
Apple iPad mini 2, 32GB Wi-Fi$199.00 USD ($287.00 CAD)$329.00 at the Apple Store
Dyson V6 Slim Cordless Vacuum$196.00 USD ($283.00 CAD)$399.99 at Best Buy
Philips 55” 4K Smart TV$298.00 USD ($420.00 CAD)$799.99 at Best Buy
Samsung 65” 1080p Smart TV$798.00 USD ($1089.00 CAD)$1699.99 at Costco.ca
WD My Passport 2TB External Hard Drive$69.00 USD ($112.00 CAD)$119.00 at Staples

As expected, televisions appear to be the product that offers the greatest value with a trip to the US, with upwards of $600.00 CAD in savings in our basic comparison. Another product worth noting is the 9.7" iPad Pro, as there is the potential to save upwards of $150.00 CAD at Best Buy or Target and prices for Apple products in Canada are inflated and don't usually get significant discounts. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One S consoles don't appear to be worth a trip, as the savings are fairly meager and include mediocre extras. Finally, it's important to remember that potential duties when declaring products may drive up the cost even more and we're still awaiting Canadian Black Friday flyers to trickle in, so most of the comparable Canadian products are listed at regular price instead of a potential sale price.

Do these comparisons make you want to brave the madness that is American Black Friday? Let us know what you think and what you're looking to buy this Black Friday and stay tuned to RedFlagDeals for more Black Friday news, flyers and tips!

11 Comments

    • awesome article thanks!
      seems like all tvs are worth the trip
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    • Good info... I agree, with sagging dollar it's not just worth visiting US for black Friday shopping. Big box items, may have to face duty at border so not sure whether you are really saving anything! Thanks
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    • Since it would involve ferries and potentially a hotel room definitely not worth it
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    • Thanks for the comparison. Helped me decide if my trip is worth it. Was considering it for the unlocked s7 at best buy but there's not much else I could save on to make the trip worthwhile.
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    • Who put that table together? The exchange rates used range from 1.365 (Samsung 65" TV) to 1.50 (Beats Solo2). Brutal.
    • Report Post
    • Who put that table together? The exchange rates used range from 1.365 (Samsung 65" TV) to 1.50 (Beats Solo2). Brutal.
    • Report Post
    • Senk wrote:
      Nov 17th, 2016 11:42 pm
      Who put that table together? The exchange rates used range from 1.365 (Samsung 65" TV) to 1.50 (Beats Solo2). Brutal.
      From the third paragraph:
      • Currency conversions were made via Google Finance, but your bank will likely convert at a higher rate
      • A round trip gas cost of $20.00 CAD was added, using a trip from Toronto to Buffalo as reference
      $20 was added to everything for consistency. Google's rate at the time of publishing was $1 USD = $1.34 CAD. The TV is $600 more than the headphones so the $20 takes up a lower percentage of the adjusted total and gave you a lower quotient. You're welcome to use a less brutal formula if you don't agree with ours.

      Headphones - ($119.99 * 1.34) + $20 = $180
      TV - ($798.00 * 1.34) + $20 = $1089
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    • Are these compared to regular Canadian prices? Or the expected price here on our Black Friday?
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    • Wouldn't one need to stay overnight (or two) though? I mean, there is no personal exemption for people just who drive back the same day right? If that is the case, then you would need to spend for hotel costs.
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    • Wouldn't one need to stay overnight (or two) though? I mean, there is no personal exemption for people just who drive back the same day right? If that is the case, then you would need to spend for hotel costs.
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    • I bought a 43" LG 4K TV at Kohls for $322US all in and got $90US in Kohl's credit plus another $30 from a referral site. Net price less than half of Bestbuy.ca's BF sale price.
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