Canadian Gift Trends Survey Finds Gift Cards Are The Most Popular Gift This Holiday Season

More than three-quarters (79 percent) of Canadians want to receive an open loop gift card

Toronto, ON – November 9, 2015 – With the holiday season quickly approaching, a recent survey reveals that more Canadians are wishing for the gift of choice and flexibility. A majority of Canadians, 79 percent, say they would like to receive an open loop gift card, allowing them to buy exactly what they want when they want it and 78 percent prefer open-loop gift cards versus closed loop gift cards that they can only be used at one retailer. Open loop gift cards carry the card brand of American Express, MasterCard or Visa and are accepted everywhere the card network is accepted, including in-stores and online.

This data tracks with trends seen in the United States. Gift cards have been the most popular gift in America for the past eight years and open loop gift cards continue to grow in popularity.

Entitled What Canadians Really Want: 2015 Holiday Gift Trends, the online survey of 1,563 Canadian consumers was conducted by Leger and commissioned by the Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization (CPPO), the voice of the rapidly growing open loop prepaid payments industry in Canada.

Open loop gift cards were the most popular gift choice at 53 percent, followed by the closed loop (also known as retail gift cards) at 45 percent and clothing and accessories at 40 percent. Slightly more women than men preferred to receive a gift card with 57 percent vs. 48 percent wanting open-loop gift cards and 51 percent vs. 40 percent wanting retail gift cards.

Canadian gift buyers also highlighted their preference for giving gift cards with 70 percent saying they like to give gift cards over cash because they feel the recipients are more likely to spend it on something special for themselves. The majority also noted their desire to let the recipient get exactly what they want (68%) and that open loop gift cards are more secure than cash (51%).

As a result, the survey found that 62 percent of Canadians anticipate purchasing a gift card during the upcoming holiday season with 46 percent intending to purchase at least one open loop gift card.

“It’s not surprising that the convenience, flexibility, and security of open-loop gift cards have Canadians moving away from the traditional gifts of choice this holiday season,” says David Eason, CPPO co-founder and Chairman of the CPPO and Berkeley Payment Solutions. “Today’s connected consumers crave the freedom to shop for what they like, wherever and whenever they like, and that flexibility is contributing to the growing popularity of open-loop gift cards in Canada.”

Additional results from the What Canadians Really Want: 2015 Holiday Gift Trends include:

  • Open loop gift cards (53%) and closed loop (retail) gift cards (45%) are the top holiday gift picks among Canadians
    • Followed by clothing and accessories (40%), books and DVDs (32%), mobile devices and/or computer electronics (26%) and gaming consoles and games (11%)
  • One-third (33%) of Canadians have given, and 45% of Canadians have received, an open loop gift card as a gift
  • While Canadians of all ages are equally as likely to give a gift card, Millennials are the most likely to have received an open loop gift card as a gift (57%)
  • Over three-quarters (78%) like the flexibility of being able to use open loop cards almost anywhere versus a retail gift card
  • Over half (51%) prefer open-loop gift cards because it is more secure than giving cash

About Open Loop Prepaid Cards
Open loop prepaid cards are a cost-effective, flexible and easy-to-use payment tool. The cards can be used anywhere the card network (American Express, MasterCard and Visa) is accepted, including online and around the world. They are rapidly replacing cheques as a less expensive and more secure option for issuing payments. Open loop prepaid cards look and function like traditional credit and debit cards at the point-of-sale and offer the same fraud and loss protections offered by the card network with a significant difference— they access a set amount of funds that have been pre-loaded by a consumer, by a government or by a business.

About The Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization (CPPO) 
The CPPO is a not-for-profit organization and the collective voice of the open loop prepaid payments industry in Canada. It is the only Association solely focused on this growing industry and is supported by major financial institutions, card networks, and other industry players. The CPPO is focused on awareness and education so that consumers and businesses can have the best experience with these popular products. Members of this not-for-profit organization include major financial institutions, payment card networks, program managers and key vendors that support the growth of this industry. Founding members include American Express (Amex Bank of Canada), Bank of Montreal, Berkeley Payment Solutions, Home Trust Company, Incomm Canada, MasterCard Canada, Peoples Trust Company, RBC, Scotiabank, and The Fletcher Group LLC. Supporters include Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP.

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