Maybe the best study on whether it’s worth it to head to the United States for Black Friday shopping are your own eyes.
“When you go across, things are cheaper,” said Randy Hull, professor of economics and accounting at Fanshawe College in London, Ont. “You’ve witnessed that yourself, and you’ve heard about it. In fact, it’s true.”
Using the research site numbeo.com, Hull found overall consumer prices were about 21 per cent lower in Detroit than in London. Everything from a meal at a mid-range restaurant, to a pair of jeans, to a bottle of water as you walk through the mall is cheaper Stateside.
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Hull says it boils down to how much people have to spend. And for the most part, there’s less in the U.S.
“In Canada … the economy isn’t doing that badly, so our prices have not come down,” he said. “In the U.S., they’ve faced the reality that they can’t charge that much, and people are accustomed to not having to pay that much.”
Why deals are better in the U.S.
The Canadian loonie has gone toe-to-toe with the American dollar for some time now, but that wasn’t always the case.
“I remember a 65-cent dollar,” said Hull when asked why Americans seem to get sweeter deals. “Everything had to be more here, because it took more Canadian dollars to buy that product.
“I think we’re still living with a bit of a hangover from that.”
Despite the comparable currencies, Hull doesn’t think cross-border prices will ever be comparable.
“Will it ever come together? I doubt it,” said Hull. “There are differences —we do charge more in taxes here.”