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March, 2024

Loyalty programs: Usage grows 18% year-on-year, driving Australian consumer behaviour

A fresh study by global data and insights company Pureprofile and retail advisory firm Retail Doctor Group has found an 18% lift in Australians using loyalty programs over the past year as consumers reveal increased visitation to these brands and higher spending behaviours.

The study, conducted in February, gathered perceptions and attitudes from over 1,000 Australian respondents and found 95% of us are members of loyalty programs. The report revealed 30% of Australian consumers pay for loyalty programs such as Amazon Prime or One Pass. One in four would also consider signing up for a paid program but expect benefits such as free delivery, special rewards, member tailored pricing and free gifts in return.

Interestingly, 45% of consumers reported loyalty programs would make them visit a retailer more often, and 27% said a program would encourage them to spend more at the retailer.

The top reason for loyalty across the fashion (77%), homewares (63%), and takeaway food (41%) categories was because consumers liked the look and feel of a brand or retailer. For groceries, 60% of consumers remained loyal because they were a member of a loyalty program. Grocery is the category with the highest loyalty at 69%, while takeaway food sits in second place. However, the report found only one-third of consumers are loyalty to a specific homewares brand.

What’s more, one in two consumers could be tempted to stray to another retailer if they offer a better loyalty program.

There is a demographic difference in the influence of loyalty programs too. The report found loyalty program sway reduces with age, with Baby Boomer half as likely to be influenced by programs (35%) versus Gen Z and millennials (70%).

Overall, the top reason for disloyalty across the fashion (51%) and homewares (54%) categories was because consumers followed a sale. With takeaway food, 51% of consumers were keen to try something new, while 63% sought the cheapest option for groceries.

Australia’s favourite loyalty programs are Everyday Rewards, Flybuys, McDonald’s My Macca’s Rewards, Dan Murphys, and Qantas Frequent Flyer.

“Australia currently finds itself in a unique economic situation and it is interesting to see how consumers are responding. The research has uncovered that loyalty programs weigh heavily when it comes to purchasing behaviour but that consumers have demands when it comes to these programs. They want personalisation, systems have to be easy to use, and they want to see their loyalty rewarded quicker- in fact, access to special discounts was the most important consumer consideration with these programs,” said COO of The Retail Doctor Group, Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis.

For CEO of Pureprofile, Martin Filz, the list of Australia’s most popular loyalty programs lends real insight into the country’s priorities.

“Groceries are a clear and consistent focus, followed by affordable treats such as drive-through meals and larger ticket items such as travel,” he said. “While loyalty programs are a key influencer when it comes to purchasing behaviour, consumers report that connection to a brand is the most important driver of loyalty, even more so than price.

“Retailers need to think holistically about the customer experience from fantastic in-store experiences, to personable staff interactions and frictionless online journeys. Every touch point is an opportunity to win or keep loyalty which is of paramount importance in the current environment.”

For all the talk of loyalty however, the report found 83% of consumers are loyal to their preferred retailers full stop. The number one driver of loyalty remains connection to the brand of the retailer – a connection that’s more important than price and loyalty programs.