Joint Research from American Express Canada and LoyaltyOne Shows Great
Recession Rivals Great Depression for Changing Canadian Consumer Behaviour

75% Say Impulse Buying a Thing of the Past -

Canadians Place Greater Importance on Quality, Value, Service and Trust

Download Free Research Report "Canadian Shopping and Spending Attitudes - Lessons Learned from the 2008/2009 Recession" at Canadian Shopping and Spending Attitudes Report

TORONTO, April 27 /CNW/ - The 2008/2009 recession fundamentally changed Canadian attitudes and spending behaviour, according to survey research jointly conducted by American Express Canada and LoyaltyOne, the company that runs the AIR MILES Rewards Program.

Survey results that American Express Canada President and CEO Denise Pickett presented to an audience of marketing professionals at the CMA Business of Ideas Forum, showed changes in how Canadians live, and particularly how they spend, potentially are as fundamental for the current generation as the changes that the Great Depression brought about in the 1930s.

The survey, conducted in February 2010, polled more than 1,000 AIR MILES Collectors. The AIR MILES Reward Program has more than 10 million active collector accounts representing two-thirds of Canadian households with a broad cross section of consumers nationwide.

Most Canadians surveyed said the recession is behind them. No less than 62% feel more positive about the economy and 58% feel more positive about their personal financial future. However, almost half (48%) still feel nervous about their personal financial situation.

For the overwhelming majority-a full three quarters of those surveyed-impulse shopping is a thing of the past and most people are now being much more cautious about their discretionary spending and deciding what to purchase.

"Canadians are now much more careful and deliberate about how they spend their money, or pay down the money they owe," Pickett said. "The recession's made people rethink what's really worth their hard-earned money."

The research found that more Canadians are bargain hunting (62%) but results suggest that price is not the primary motivating factor for consumers. Quality, value, service and trust, have all risen to the top (74%) in terms of importance and impact.

According to Pickett, Canadians now need a rational reason for buying a product or service, and they think a lot harder about where they're spending their dollars, focusing more attention on overall value. Additionally, there is a growing group of former impulse shoppers who are now holding to a pre-determined spending budget, many for the first time.

"This increased emphasis on service and quality is something marketers need to pay more attention to, particularly as Canadians are far less loyal to brands than before the recession," Pickett said.

LoyaltyOne President Bryan Pearson concurred. "The key to capturing consumers' loyalty in the post-recession era is to focus on The Three R's: rewards, recognition and most important, relevance. Savvy Canadian businesses are recognizing that in the new economy, the way to create customer engagement and relevance is to connect with consumers in ways that show them you understand who they are and what they care about. This survey demonstrates that marketers need to recognize that consumers are less impulsive and more careful about how they are spending," he said.

According to Pickett, American Express continues to invest in improving its servicing capabilities, including moving deeper into everyday spending categories like groceries and gas as a way to both respond to consumer needs and to shift more spending on its cards to non-impulse categories.

A copy of Denise Picket's speech featuring highlights of the research findings is available for download at Canadian Shopping and Spending Attitudes Report

    
    About American Express in Canada:
    ---------------------------------
    

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express Cards in Canada. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel, Travel Services Network and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast.

    
    About LoyaltyOne:
    -----------------
    

LoyaltyOne is a global provider of loyalty strategy and programs, customer analytics and relationship marketing services. Its roster of clients includes leading businesses and brands in multiple sectors such as retail, banking, manufacturing, government, natural resources and utilities. LoyaltyOne businesses include Canada's AIR MILES Reward Program - North America's premiere coalition loyalty program, COLLOQUY, Precima, LoyaltyOne Consulting and Direct Antidote. LoyaltyOne's industry-leading Associates, practical experience and proven capabilities set the benchmark of thought leadership in the loyalty marketplace. Toronto-based LoyaltyOne is an Alliance Data company. For more than 30 years, Alliance Data has helped its clients build more profitable, more loyal relationships with their customers. For more information, visit www.loyalty.com.

SOURCE LoyaltyOne

For further information: For further information: Carrie Makrigiannis, cmakrigiannis@environicspr.com, (416) 969-2750; Jennifer Hills, jhills@environicspr.com, (416) 969-2669


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