STUDY: 78% of Consumers Are Interested in Premium Loyalty Programs; Purchasing Increases for Program Members

New research from Clarus Commerce shows that 78% of respondents are interested in joining membership-based premium loyalty programs. Weekly purchases rise by 7% for premium loyalty members.

As shopping trends continue to normalize post-pandemic, consumers are more likely than ever to join a premium loyalty program, especially in exchange for immediate, relevant benefits such as discounts on gas and groceries, according to new data from Clarus Commerce. However, as high inflation has hit Americans at grocery stores and gas pumps, consumers are more willing to pay for premium loyalty programs that will guarantee these discounts, which have increased by 16% and 7% respectively since 2021. With consumers seeking new avenues for brand engagement, including the metaverse, this year is going to be pivotal for brands trying to bring on more loyal customers.

For its fourth-annual report, “2022: Premium Loyalty Data Study,” Clarus Commerce surveyed 2,500 U.S. consumers about their shopping habits and expectations for premium loyalty programs, willingness to share data, and interest in brand activations in the metaverse. The study aimed to gain a better understanding into the benefits customers expect and why, and how those expectations have changed since 2021, specifically around premium loyalty programs.

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Clarus Commerce’s report found that there was increased interest in premium loyalty programs, with 78% of respondents saying they would pay for a premium loyalty program and 72% already belonging to one. Further, 77% of respondents not involved in a premium loyalty program said they would join one if offered by their favorite brands and if the value exchange is worth it.

Additionally, consumers still want to see immediate benefits from their loyalty programs – both premium and traditional. The percentage of consumers who don’t want to wait to accumulate points anymore and want immediate benefits from brands to maintain their loyalty held steady year over year at 78% in 2022 versus 79% in 2021.

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Additional key findings from the report include:

  • Interest in gas and grocery premium loyalty programs is surging right now. From last year’s data study, the percentage of respondents showing interest in gas and grocery loyalty increased from 35% to 51% and 58% to 65%, respectively.
  • Gen Z is more likely to join a premium loyalty program within the next 12 months; interest slightly decreases with older generations. Eighty seven percent of Gen Z respondents said they plan to join a premium loyalty program; 85% of Millennials, 76% of Gen X, 61% of Baby Boomers, and 46% of the Silent Generation said the same.
  • Eighty three percent of consumers belonging to traditional loyalty programs would sign up for the same brand’s premium loyalty program if offered.
  • Consumers show enthusiasm for the metaverse. A healthy majority of respondents (65%) indicated an interest in engaging with a brand in the metaverse to unlock an exclusive offer, with over a quarter of respondents (27%) saying they were “very interested.”

“The pandemic has changed consumer expectations permanently, and brands are still figuring out their new normal. In tandem, brands are jumping into the metaverse, producing more mobile apps than ever and finding new ways to integrate social selling into consumers’ everyday lives,” said Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus. “With all of these blooming avenues for engagement, shoppers are noticing brands that are willing to reward them for their attention and competition is becoming more significant. We can expect retailers to get more creative this year, designing more tiered loyalty programs or adding premium tiers to existing programs, and finding new ways to increase customer engagement through other exciting promotional campaigns like sweepstakes and giveaways.”

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