DALLAS — Consumers have spoken: For the second consecutive year, American consumers have identified rewards that help them save on fuel as their preferred loyalty program currency.
Certain types of rewards are even powerful enough to influence where, when and how frequently consumers shop, according to the latest findings from Excentus' annual survey and report, "Road to Rewards Revisited."
In 2016, rewards that help consumers save on the cost of gas ranked No. 1 as the most popular loyalty program currency, with 37 percent of consumer preferring fuel discounts over credit card rewards, coupons, retailer points and instant discounts at the cash register.
Consumers said they prefer fuel-saving rewards because they like saving money any way they can (39 percent) and they like earning rewards from everyday purchases made among different retailers (23 percent).
Other findings include:
- 26 percent of consumers say they shop more frequently at stores where they can earn rewards;
- 17 percent plan ahead to take advantage of rewards and promotions;
- 14 percent only shop where they can earn rewards; and
- 13 percent said the ability to earn more rewards or save more money would prompt them to switch brands or shop at a different store.
"Road to Rewards Report Revisited" also reinforces the influence of millennials and the mobile environment on loyalty program activities. Nearly 40 percent of "digital native" millennials rely on mobile apps to track and redeem their rewards, while the use of plastic membership cards dropped by 4 percent in 2016 across all age groups.
Membership in the Fuel Rewards program, owned and operated by Excentus, grew by more than 9 percent during 2016, the survey found. Interest in gas savings also rose in 2016 by 2 percent, despite the national average gas price drop from $2.79 to $2.25 during the survey period.
The report also notes that consumers are moving beyond grocery store and credit card programs to earn fuel savings, with shoppers saying they would like to earn rewards from a broader range of retailers, including restaurants, convenience stores, pharmacies, shared-economy services and online marketplaces.
"For merchants and retailers, the findings are clear: loyalty programs that skimp on delivering everyday value are missing critical opportunities to attract new customers and retain existing ones, increase foot traffic, and turn loyal shoppers into higher-value customers," said Brandon Logsdon, president and CEO of Excentus. "Mobile technology has and will continue to make it much easier, faster and cheaper to leverage loyalty programs, particularly for the growing segment of consumers who rely on their mobile devices for life’s daily activities."
"The Road to Rewards Revisited" is part of an Excentus Consumer Insights Series. It is available here.
Dallas-based Excentus Corp. is a loyalty marketing and technology solutions provider.