1/3 Canadians Leave Money On Gift Cards [Survey]

Gift cards, who doesn’t love getting them for your birthday or Christmas? UGO Mobile Solutions (UGO) recently discovered a problem, roughly one-third of all Canadians say they typically leave unspent money on their gift cards, including 47 per cent of young adults.  On average Canadians purchase gift-card-giving represents $166 worth of cards per year; while those on the receiving end get an estimated total of $134 annually.

Digital WalletUGO commissioned  Ipsos for the survey and also found that those who misplace their cards estimate they lose an average of $47 each year, while those who stop using their cards before they’re maxed-out leave an unspent average of $5 on each card.

“As a nation, we really like the overall ease and flexibility of gift cards – since roughly three-quarters of all Canadians give and receive them each year,” said Alec Morley, CEO, UGO Mobile Solutions. “There is obviously a need for a convenient solution that allows consumers to have easy access to any gift card at any time in order to take advantage of their full value – UGO Wallet brings that convenience to Canadians with newly expanded capabilities that go beyond payments and loyalty to include the ability to store, redeem and electronically receive gift cards.”

UGO is looking to solve this with a digital solution and one that allows consumers to scan the card with their smartphone camera. The app also allows users the option of manually tracking unused money within each card’s file, addressing the top two culprits of why 46 percent of Canadians say they may not use gift cards to their full value:

  1. Forgetting how much money is left to spend if the total amount is not used at once (23 per cent), notably among millennials (18 to 34) at 37 per cent; and
  2. Forgetting to bring the right card when shopping (15 per cent).

Additional survey findings:

  • A majority (54 per cent) of Canadians say that they would be likely to use gift cards to their fullest value, and sooner than they do now, if they could store all of them on their smartphone and scan them at checkout. Most likely to think this could help them include Albertans (63 per cent), Atlantic Canadians (58 per cent) and – especially – those nationally aged 18 to 34 (79 per cent), including students (83 per cent).
  • One in ten Canadians actually use gift cards as a budgeting tool, to help them manage their spending on a weekly or monthly basis for items like coffee, clothing or groceries, including 16 per cent of young adults.
  • A total of 69 per cent of females and 63 per cent of males aged 18 to 34 were the very least interested in using gift cards as a budgeting tool. That number increases with three-quarters of students (18 to 24) seeing value in using gift cards as a budgeting tool when conveniently stored in an app on their smartphone.
  • Those in BC and Quebec who leave money on their cards tend to leave slightly more ($5) than the national average ($4.50) on their gift cards before they stop using them. In contrast, more than three quarters of those in Quebec (76 percent) say they never leave any money on their cards.