As inflation booms, loyalty programs get more attention

Loyalty programs are gaining attention with eight in 10 American members of at least one loyalty program and half view retail loyalty programs as more important than ever, primarily due to the rising inflation economics.

That’s a prime finding of a Lending Tree survey that polled 2,100 US consumers on how they perceive and use loyalty programs.

Six-figure earners (57%) and Millennials (56%) are most likely to view the programs as becoming more critical, while 43% of Gen Z consumers do not share the same perception, according to a press release on the findings.

“It’s great that people aren’t just taking advantage of high-profile, big-ticket loyalty programs, such as those offered by hotels and airlines,” Matt Schulz, LendingTree chief credit analyst, said in the release. “The truth is that smaller, regular purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, pet shops and drug stores can add up to real meaningful rewards in a pretty big hurry. With rampant inflation, that matters.”

Additional findings include:

  • While loyalty programs incentivize consumers to increase the frequency with which they shop with a brand, that doesn’t always translate to increased spending. Although 72% shop more at companies with loyalty programs, only 52% spend more because of them.
  • More than half of loyalty program members (52%) would leave the program if the rewards weren’t worth it. But only 41% said a data breach would cause them to end their membership. As for what leads consumers to join loyalty programs, 75% cite the ability to earn points.
  • 50% of loyalty program members signed up at the checkout counter.


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