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November 30, 2010

Loyalty points help credit cards make a comeback

43 percent plan to use their card for holiday shopping, up from 34 percent last year

Maritz Canada‚Äôs annual holiday report delivers good tiding to retailers. According to the annual report, 90% of Canadians will participate in gift-giving this season and may be more inclined to open up their wallets than they have been in the past two years. Although expected spend has not returned to pre-recession levels, Canadian holiday shoppers plan to spend an average of   $602, a modest improvement of 6% over the 2008 and 2009 holiday seasons.

"While the effects of the recent slow downs have not completely dissipated, projected holiday spending is moving in the right direction," says   Rob Daniel, Managing Director, Maritz Research   Canada, a division of Maritz   Canada  Inc., "This is good news for retailers who view the holiday season as the most important time of the year for revenue."

Credit cards are more popular this year. 43% say they will use their credit card this year, up from 34% in 2009. Valuable loyalty programs often drive choice of payment method. One-half of Canadians (50%) agree that they will choose how they pay based on what will give them the most loyalty points.

"Canadians are very aware of loyalty program benefits and many will see the holiday shopping season as the perfect time to collect points with their favourite programs or redeem for desired rewards," says Daniel.

Online shopping continues to see a modest year-over-year growth with   11% of Canadians saying they will make a purchase online in 2010, compared to 9% in 2009. 34% of shoppers say the crowds and chaotic atmosphere are the worst part of the shopping experience and 17% are turned-off by long line-ups so offering a great experience online can be a wonderful differentiator. "Online retailers who provide incentives to consumers will capture the greatest proportion of online shopping dollars in 2010. For example, successful online retailers offer free gifts or free shipping with minimum purchases; and in some cases, the shipping fee is completely waived," says Daniel. "Customers expect to be delighted with great customer experience digitally, as well as in the store."

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