Valentine's Day Remains Important Gift Giving Occasion for Canadians

     MasterCard Canada survey reveals 80 per cent plan to spend the same
                          amount or more this year;
          Men will be rushing to the malls for last minute shopping

    TORONTO, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - Canadians are planning to show their love this
Valentine's Day with gifts of candy, chocolate, flowers, dinners out, cards,
jewelry and more. In a new MasterCard survey of spending intentions for
Valentine's Day, 80 per cent of Canadians say they expect to spend the same
(68 per cent) or more (12 per cent) than last year on Valentine's gifts. About
one in five (18 per cent) plan to spend less.
    And while women are more likely to purchase gifts for many people like
children, parents, friends, etc. (40 per cent of women vs. 16 per cent of
men), men will spend more on gifts for their partner or spouse. One third (31
per cent) of men say they will spend between $100 and $250, and another 28 per
cent will spend between $50 and $100 for their loved one's gift. On the other
hand, 32 per cent per cent of Canadian women will spend $20 to $50 and another
21 per cent will spend $50 to $99.
    "Clearly, Valentine's Day remains a meaningful occasion that Canadians
want to mark with gifts for their partners and family," says Julie Wilson,
Director, Public Affairs, MasterCard Canada. "Canadians know it's not the
price of the gift, but the thought behind it that makes the gift priceless."
    People in the Prairies are planning to spend a little more on their loved
ones, with a quarter saying they'll spend between $100 and $249, compared to
only 13 per cent of British Columbians. But nationally, the big spenders are
those aged 18-29. Almost a third of that group said they'll spend between $100
and $249.

    Rush of Last-Minute Men

    Look out for the rush of last-minute male shoppers. Almost half (47 per
cent) of men will purchase their Valentine's Day gift on February 13 or 14.
Meanwhile more than 60 per cent of women will get their gift shopping done a
week or more in advance.
    "Women are planning and preparing while men are procrastinating and
panicking," says Ms. Wilson. "As it gets closer to Valentine's Day, we'll see
a lot of Last-Minute Larry's wandering the mall, trying to find that perfect
gift. My advice to this group is, don't wait until all that's left at the
florist are filler flowers."

    Gifts that say "I love you"

    Finding the perfect gift can be difficult, and Canadians definitely love
giving their loved ones candy/chocolate and flowers (both gift ideas were
ranked first overall at 19% each). Other popular gift-giving ideas include:
    -  A romantic night out or dinner at a nice restaurant (18%)
    -  A simple card will do for more than a fifth (12%) of Canadians
    -  A dinner at home can also get the romance started (4%)
    -  If you know your Valentine's measurements then clothes might be the
       answer (4%)
    -  An evening together with tickets to a show or movie is also popular
    -  Stimulate the olfactory senses with cologne or perfume (2%)
    -  A good book (perhaps a romance novel?) can get the romantic
       imagination going (2%)
    -  Tease your taste buds with a little vino. Why not try a New World
       Shiraz or an Old World Chardonnay? (2%)

    A Family Holiday

    While Valentine's Day is best known for romantic love, it can also be day
for family. Of those that said they'd be buying for more than their partner or
love interest, almost 70 per cent (68%) will also be buying for their
children, 75 per cent of those aged 50+ buying something for their children.
    Quebeckers especially love to spoil their offspring, with more than three
quarters (78%) buying for children, compared to 60 per cent of Atlantic
Canadians, who lead the country when it comes to buying a gift for their
parents (29 % versus 17% nationally).

    About the Survey

    The survey was conducted by Research House on behalf of MasterCard Canada
from January 22-26, 2009. The telephone survey is based on a randomly selected
sample of 1,002 Canadians ages 18+. The margin of error for a sample of this
size is +/- 3.10%, 19 times out of 20.

    About MasterCard Worldwide

    MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical
economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and
merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard
develops and markets payment solutions, processes approximately 21 billion
transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting
services to financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family
of brands, including MasterCard(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R), MasterCard
serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.
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For further information: Sheryl So/Olivia Yu, (416) 969-2725/(416)

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