With the holiday shopping season upon us, experts are sharing their advice on what Canadians can do to find the perfect gifts during this time of high inflation.

“This holiday season will be filled with aggressive sales from retailers,” Bruce Winder, president of Bruce Winder Retail, who has more than 30 years of experience in the sector, said.

Winder explained that the retail sector is eager to get rid of massive inventory backlogs that built up over months of supply chain disruptions. 

“The biggest deals are likely to be found with private labels. You’ll find better value and pricing on items that are not national gift brands,” he advised. 

Winder pointed specifically to Canadian Tire Corporation, Winners Merchants International L.P, HomeSense, Best Buy Co. Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. as the top retailers he expects to see major price drops from.

Amazon forecast this year’s holiday sales to be the weakest in its history. Winder believes this will result in the e-commerce giant lowering prices further than usual in an attempt to grow sales as much as possible during the season.

To score a deal online, Winder advised consumers to sign up for retailers' emailing lists that will likely provide promotional discount codes in the weeks ahead.

Shoppers looking for rare or unique second-hand gifts at affordable prices should also consider looking on Facebook Marketplace, Winder added.

“Those looking to land even more deals should head into brick-and-mortar stores,” he said. 

This season, physical retailers are likely to offer in-store only sales as a way to gain traffic that was lost during harsher COVID-19 restrictions last Christmas, he explained. 

“It’s important to remember that items marked 30 per cent to 50 per cent off don’t always mean the best value. Before you purchase it, check to see what the item is going for in competitor stores to ensure lower pricing,” Winder cautioned.


Another way to help you save money on gifts this holiday season is to have a spending budget.

“It’s smart to allocate a specific dollar amount for each person you will be buying a gift for this holiday, this way you won’t over spend,” Farla Efros, the managing director of Accenture, said.

Just over one-third, or 35 per cent, of consumers have a budget for their holiday shopping, according to the Accenture’s 2022 holiday shopping report.

When you have a holiday budget it makes hunting for deals and items easier, she explained. 

Efros also advised that starting holiday shopping early this year could save consumers more money.

“In the past, Canadian consumers held out Boxing Day deals, but now, businesses will start discounting earlier and more aggressively to compete with Black Friday deals south of the border,” she explained.

Retail competition is anticipated to be heightened this year, and 80 per cent of Canadians say that special promotions can entice them to shop with one retailer over another, Accenture's data showed.


For shoppers looking to spend under $50 on gifts, Efros suggested looking to purchase electronics and accessories, kitchen and hardware tools, gift cards, clothing, health and fitness accessories or online cooking classes.

While those looking to spend under $30, she pointed to make-up and skin care accessories as well as grooming kits, socks, books, home decorations and fitness passes.

Another suggestion is do-it-yourself gift baskets.

“The material to create multiple gift baskets is often inexpensive, and you can fill the baskets will multiple curated items at a lower cost,” Winder said.

He also suggested gifting experiences. Good deals on service-based gifts close to home can be found on sites like Groupon, he suggested.


While retailers are not expected to hold back on discounting this holiday season, they are likely to change their return policies in comparison to years prior, Efros cautioned.

Some retailers have already implemented a return fee for online orders, the Canadian Press reported.

H&M will implement a return fee soon in Europe, while Uniqlo Canada already rolled out this measure.

The pressure to make returning merchandise harder is coming from increased costs for materials and pre-existing supply chain challenges, the Canadian press reported. 

“Consumer should keep in mind that many retailers will either shorten the return window, or, implement a no return policy on sale items,” Efros said.

With files from The Canadian Press