Canadian merchants may see an increase in use of gift cards this holiday season as the economic downturn drives more consumers to operate on a tight budget, a survey found.

Givex Corp., a technology provider in the prepaid space, sponsored the telephone survey of 1,013 Canadians. The Canadian firm Harris/Decima conducted the survey between Oct. 8 and Oct. 11.

The survey found that 23% of Canadians opt to provide gift cards instead of cash or merchandise when giving personal gifts on a fixed budget. The survey data also suggest that at the time of redemption, half of card recipients usually spend more than the value on the card, up from 39% of respondents who said so last year in a similar survey.

About 62% of respondents this year said they would likely provide their personal information in exchange for an incentive.

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