Rewards that help consumers save on the cost of gasoline ranked #1 again in 2016 as the most popular loyalty program currency, with 37% of consumers preferring fuel discounts over credit card rewards, coupons, retailer points and instant discounts at the cash register.
Americans say they prefer fuel-saving rewards because they like saving money any way they can (39%) and they like earning rewards from everyday purchases made (23%) among a variety of retailers.
Findings from Excentus’ new “Road to Rewards Revisited” annual survey and report also show that certain types of rewards are powerful enough to influence where, when and how frequently consumers shop.
Additional survey findings in 2016 also underscore the inherent power of loyalty programs to influence consumer behaviors and brand preferences. More than one quarter (26%) of consumers say they shop more frequently at stores where they can earn rewards, 17% plan ahead to take advantage of rewards and promotions, and 14% shop only where they can earn rewards. Another 13% said the ability to earn more rewards or save more money would prompt them to switch brands or shop at a different store.
The newly published “Road to Rewards Report Revisited” report is available for download here.
The report reinforces the influence of Millennials and the mobile environment on loyalty program activities. Nearly 40% of “digital native” Millennials rely on mobile apps to track and redeem their rewards, while across all age groups, the use of plastic membership cards dropped by 4% during 2016, the survey shows.
Membership in the Fuel Rewards program, owned and operated by Excentus, grew by more than 9% during 2016 according to the survey. Likewise, consumer interest in saving on gasoline at the pump also rose by 2%, even as average gas prices dropped from $2.79 to $2.25 a gallon nationwide 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.