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    Fuel/C-store Loyalty Programs Stem Membership Decline

    Overall results of the U.S. loyalty market are mixed.

    CINCINNATI — Membership in fuel/convenience store loyalty programs declined by 3 percent this year compared to 21 percent in 2013, according to the recently released 2015 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census: Big Numbers, Big Hurdles.

    “Think of the U.S. loyalty market in terms of a crowded party where half of the party-goers are standing in the corner without mingling,” said Jeff Berry, COLLOQUY research director and census report author. “Companies and brands that understand the key touchpoints in the relationship, pay attention to how best customers respond and optimize the overall experience can turn the party up so that people will join in the fun and never want to leave.”

    Overall, the survey reported mixed data. U.S. consumers now hold 3.3 billion memberships in customer loyalty programs, a 26-percent increase compared to 2013.

    American households hold memberships in 29 loyalty programs spread among the retail, financial services, travel, and other sectors including c-stores and gas stations. However, Americans are only active in 12 such loyalty programs, marking a decrease of 4.5 percentage points compared to two years ago. An active member is defined as one who earns or redeems at least one loyalty reward per year. 

    Credit-card rewards programs have the most memberships, totaling 578 million in the United States. Specialty store memberships now total 434 to place second, surpassing frequent flyer memberships for the first time, according to the survey. 

    The highest growth rate during the two-year period between census reports belonged to restaurants, rising by 107 percent, followed by drugstores, which saw memberships increase 88 percent. 

    Cincinnati-based COLLOQUY is operated by LoyaltyOne.

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