Toronto, 09.02.2016

Canadians’ Preference for Non-Cash Payment Methods Continues to Grow – GfK Study

  • Only 1 in 4 Canadian transactions are in cash
  • Canadians are 1.5 times more likely to use credit cards to pay for transactions, compared to Americans
  • Majority of Canadians reported paying with their mobile phone at least once in the past year

Toronto; February 9, 2016: Among Canadians, cash is no longer king. For the second year in a row, Canadian consumers are showing a growing preference for non-cash payment methods.

New research from GfK has found that, in 2015, only 25% of all Canadian transactions were in cash, down 2 percentage points from the year before. Debit cards and mobile payments picked up the marginal growth, gaining 1 point each.

The findings, part of GfK’s annual FutureBuy® study of shopping habits and trends, suggests that, while the movement is gradual, there is an evident shift in the market towards cashless payments.

“Every year technological enhancements and innovations such as Tap reduce Canadians reliance on cash,” said Stephen Popiel, VP, Financial Services, at GfK Canada. “The movement is slow, but steady and will only increase in speed with demographic changes to the population.”

Mobile payments gaining traction
With the recent launch of Apple Pay, there is much speculation on how the Canadian market will respond to mobile payments.

The new GfK research has found that, while usage share is still relatively low – mobile payments only account for 3% of all transactions in Canada – adoption is slowly growing. The majority of Canadian consumers (63%) reported making at least one mobile transaction per month, up 3% from 2014.

Perceptions about mobile payments also continue to gain ground, with a growing proportion of Canadians seeing them as being “faster” and “easier” than cash; both metrics rose by 3% versus 2014. Canadian consumer confidence in the security offered by mobile payment methods is also trending positively.

Paypal is the most popular mobile payment platform, with a majority (65%) of Canadians reporting they have used it in the past six months; Starbucks is second, at 12%.

“What is clear is that there is an appetite for mobile payments in the Canadian market, and the rollout of Apple Pay should help spur demand and frequency of use in the short term,” adds Popiel. “With the entry of other mobile wallet players, the technology will become more widely available across various retail sectors and usage will move beyond the early adopter phase.”

Established in 2009, FutureBuy® is GfK’s exclusive survey of shopper attitudes and behaviors. The 2015 survey covers 25 countries and 17 categories, including FMCG, domestic appliances, home improvement and mobile phones, and a variety of shopper topics – from omni-channel behavior to leading-edge consumers and mobile payments.

About GfK
GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.

For more information, please visit or follow GfK on Twitter.

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