Canadian shoppers continue to embrace Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to spending data released today by Moneris Solutions Corporation ("Moneris"), Canada's largest credit and debit card processor. Following 2013's banner year for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, 2014 saw spending increases on both days (5 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively), showing that the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday shopping trend has cemented its place in Canada.

"Despite the drop in Black Friday sales reported in the U.S., our data shows that retailers in Canada are continuing to benefit from the Black Friday shopping trend," said Angela Brown, President and CEO of Moneris. "Combined with the double digit growth seen on Cyber Monday, Canadians are proving that they have adopted Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season."

So what does this mean for consumers heading into the holiday season? If Black Friday and Cyber Monday are any indication of holiday shopping trends, gifts most likely to end up under the tree this year include cameras and photography supplies and apparel, both of which posted the highest year-over-year sales growth (16 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively) over the four-day period (Friday-Monday) leading up to the holiday shopping season. Interestingly, spending on cameras and photography supplies was 74 per cent higher on Cyber Monday compared to the same day last year.

Women's ready-to-wear apparel was the standout within the apparel category in 2014, with 24 per cent growth over the same four day period year over year. By contrast, sales of men's clothing was down five per cent over the same period.

Sales of home electronics, which includes televisions, media players, audio equipment and computer stores, saw a mere four per cent increase over the four day period last year with the majority of growth attributed to Cyber Monday alone, which saw a 17 per cent spending increase in the category.

And while Canadians may be waiting patiently for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off their holiday shopping, there is no delay in taking advantage of a good deal once the clock strikes twelve. On Black Friday, sales activity spiked from midnight through 1:00 a.m. EST. Sales dropped off after the late-night shopping spree, picking up again later in the morning and peaking between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. EST.