Popularity of Gift Cards Grows in Canada

Blackhawk Network shopper survey reveals growing preference for giving and receiving gift cards, which are the most purchased prepaid product in Canada

PLEASANTON, Calif. – [Press Release] – Canadian shoppers are increasingly turning to gift cards for gift-giving occasions, citing choice as the most attractive feature of the cards.

Although gift cards have been around for over a decade, they continue to grow in popularity in Canada, and are a top gift choice this holiday season, said Steve Dekker, managing director of Blackhawk Canada. Our annual gift card survey found that Canadians feel good about giving and receiving gift cards, prefer to purchase them in gift card malls, and are increasingly choosing egifts.

Findings from Blackhawk Network’s 2015 Canada Gift Card Survey revealed:

Gift cards are growing in popularity: Eighty-seven percent of respondents have both purchased and received gift cards in the last year, up from 68 percent in 2010. More than half of respondents who purchased a gift card in the past year bought four or more cards (53 percent).Ninety-one percent have received a gift card in the last year. Seventy-six percent stated they would prefer to receive a gift card from one of their favorite stores rather than a specific gift.

Attitudes about giving and receiving gift cards are positive: A majority of Canadians think most people enjoy receiving gift cards so they can pick what they want, prefer to give gift cards so the recipient can choose what he or she wants, and like to purchase gift cards because they are easier/more convenient to purchase than other gifts. Most Canadians like receiving gift cards because they can purchase what they want, and purchase something for themselves without spending any extra money. Eighty-one percent feel gift cards are a good gift.

Gift card malls are the top purchasing destination: The most popular places for Canadians to purchase gift cards in the past year were gift card malls in supermarkets/grocery stores where cards for various retailers are sold (50 percent of respondents who had purchased the cards in the last year bought some here) and directly from the store or restaurant (45 percent). The top reason shoppers purchase gift cards in a gift card mall was convenience.

Gift cards are a popular choice for a variety of recipients and occasions: The top recipients for gift cards in the last year were family friends (36 percent), spouse or partner (31 percent), parent (27 percent), sibling (27 percent), a child or stepchild (25 percent) and other relatives (31 percent). In the past year, gift card purchasers most heavily bought the gifts for Christmas/winter holidays (64 percent), birthdays (58 percent), self-use (23 percent) and thank-you gifts (19 percent).)

eGift adoption is growing: Thirty-three percent of respondents purchased an egift in the past year, up from 26 percent in 2014. Thirty-eight percent said they were likely to purchase an egift in the next year. A full 59 percent would be interested in receiving an egift in the coming year, up from 43 percent in 2014. The top reasons for purchasing egifts were: they are easier to redeem (33 percent) offer immediate delivery (32 percent) and are easier to purchase (23 percent).

Gift cards have the highest awareness among prepaid products: Nearly all Canadian consumers (99 percent) are aware of gift cards. Eighty-nine percent have purchased them at some point, up from 71 percent in 2010. Nearly all consumers have heard of prepaid phones and phone cards, yet less have purchased (64 and 58 percent, respectively.) Most consumers (93 percent) are aware of prepaid debit cards, yet only 24 percent have ever purchased them.

Blackhawk Canada’s findings track with other recently released research from the Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization, What Canadians Really Want: 2015 Holiday Gift Trends, which found that gift cards are the top holiday gift picks for Canadians this year. Similarly, Blackhawk Network’s survey of American shoppers, Blackhawk’s Online and Mobile Gifting Survey, shows that 60 percent of Americans plan on giving some type of gift card this holiday season.

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About Blackhawk’s 2015 Canada Gift Card Survey

Blackhawk’s 2015 Canada Gift Card Survey was an Internet-based survey conducted by Blackhawk Network in March 2015. The sample size included 441 Canadians that had either purchased and/or received a gift card in the past year.

About Blackhawk Canada Blackhawk Canada is a subsidiary of Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAWK), and is a leading prepaid payment network that supports the physical and digital distribution of a wide range of prepaid products. Blackhawk Canada provides Canadian consumers a broad selection of gift cards, prepaid telecom handsets, airtime cards and general purpose reloadable cards and supports prepaid products and offers across a growing network of digital distribution partners including leading retailers, financial service providers, mobile wallets and other integrated physical-to-digital channels.

About Blackhawk Network

Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAWK) is a leading prepaid and payments global company, which supports the program management and distribution of gift cards, prepaid telecom products and financial service products in a number of different retail, digital and incentive channels. Blackhawk’s digital platform supports prepaid across a network of digital distribution partners including retailers, financial service providers, and mobile wallets. For more information, please visit.