India's Loyalty Landscape: Key Trends To Observe

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on June 15, 2022

One of the greatest privileges we enjoy at Wise Marketer Group (WMG) is the ability to collaborate with loyalty marketing professionals all over the world. Through this network we have access to and can publish timely news and information of relevance to our global loyalty audience.

By: Mike Capizzi, CLMP™, The Loyalty Academy

We collaborate on thought leadership articles, loyalty research reports, and deliver webinars and executive interviews from leading brands and service providers in the global industry, including our heralded Women in Loyalty™ series. Through our educational platform at The Loyalty Academy, we reach hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals seeking to upskill their loyalty understanding or earn the distinction of a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional™ (CLMP).

One of the long-time supporters of this approach is Epsilon. A global leader in data-driven marketing and loyalty solutions, Epsilon, a Publicis Groupe company, has been a global leader in the digital marketing revolution for many years and supports leading brands in multiple markets and vertical categories with a variety of customer centric solutions. They strongly support loyalty education initiatives for their associates and clients and currently have CLMPs from their consulting and business development teams in the UK, UAE, Singapore, India, and the US.

India is a market of focus for Epsilon and they recently shared with WMG a comprehensive report on the current loyalty landscape in India including permission to publish an excerpt from the report.

India's Loyalty Market Dimensions

  • Epsilon estimates that the current market size for loyalty solutions in India tops US$2.9 billion and is growing at a CAGR of 15%.
  • The report estimates India's Customer Loyalty market to be $10.85 billion by 2031 with penetration across all vertical markets.
  • The India loyalty program market today represents approximately 4%-8% of the global market, consistent with the Wise Marketer’s estimates of a total market size globally of $65 billion.

According to Epsilon, the key factors driving this explosive growth are an increasing number of people trying out and getting used to using the digital space for financial transactions. This combination of both shopping and conducting financial transactions in the digital environment has resulted in a rapid rise in the acceptance and use of digital rewards.

Consumer Characteristics

Millennials are at the forefront of this expansion. Based on pre-Covid research studies, 46% of millennial consumers across India are willing to spend on brands with loyalty programs, compared to only 40% for Baby Boomers and 39% for Gen X.

Other key consumer statistics concerning customer loyalty:

  • 74% of Indian consumers said they are loyal to their favorite brand because of a personal connection compared to 59% of the consumers surveyed globally.
  • Approximately 81% of Indian consumers said their loyalty was driven by product quality compared to 74% of consumers globally.
  • 74% of Indian consumers said their loyalty was driven by value for money compared to 66% globally.
  • 73% in India said their loyalty was driven by customer service compared to 56% consumers globally.

Consumers in India are value conscious. However, they connect more with brands that enrich their experience with the product or services. 33% of Indian Consumers make purchases THAT EARN REWARDS/BENEFITS at least several times a week.

Strategies, Tactics and Trends

Epsilon research offered 4 ways to improve the loyalty marketing experience for Indian consumers.

1) Revitalization: Approximately half of the surveyed consumers globally agree that companies should find new ways to reward loyal customers. This number stood at 97% for India.

  • Responsible personalization, emotional connection, and purpose-driven causes are key considerations.

2) Keep it simple: Globally, 60% agree loyalty programs are too hard to join and/or earning rewards is a challenge. 76% in India feel this way.

  • Lengthy registration processes, rules and conditions, and technical difficulties with redeeming awards are all likely to turn customers away.

3) Maintain relevance: Companies need to ensure their loyalty programs stay relevant to customers. 49% of loyalty program members globally agree they belong to too many programs. This is particularly the case for consumers in India (61%).

  • Too many programs equate to too many mobile apps, so it’s no surprise that customers forget their memberships, lose track of their points, and perhaps decide that the rewards are not worth the effort.

4) Promote awareness: Regular communication to consumers through social channels, email, or advertising can help programs remain top of mind with consumers. More than one in three consumers globally who did not belong to any loyalty programs said they were not aware of any. About 21% of Indian consumers have not joined any program compared to 17% globally.

  • Lack of awareness (42%) is one of main reasons stated by respondents in India for not being part of any loyalty program.

Epsilon believes that several trends are emerging in the Indian loyalty marketplace which could have a significant impact on the current landscape:

  • Integration of Big Data in loyalty programs — Big Data has come to the forefront to be used in loyalty programs to enhance personalization. With this, brands can personalize engagement with consumers over a period as it helps analyze the segment members based on demographics, reward preferences, etc.
  • Programs that echo consumer values — The values and ethics of a company have never been more important in the eyes of the consumer. A customer is more likely to continue shopping with you over your competitors if they feel that their purchases are helping to make a positive difference.
  • Instant Gratification — With the digital revolution in India, we already live in an era where consumers don’t expect to wait for anything. Consumers are expecting everything to be at their fingertips, including loyalty programs.
  • Gamification — Tap and play games in loyalty programs have enabled consumers to feel positive given the current unstableness hovering around the world.

To learn more about Epsilon and the Indian Loyalty Landscape, keep an eye out for our upcoming executive interview with Ashish Sinha, Managing Director — Epsilon APAC & MEA, as we discuss a variety of topics of interest to the loyalty community.

And don’t forget to register for the CLMP Workshop in Mumbai on June 28-30, 2022 with Bill Hanifin, CLMP and CEO of Wise Marketer Group. Special registration discounts are available via the sponsorship of Epsilon, Easyrewardz, and our local partner, Strategic Caravan. Contact us for more details and to request your discount.

Mike Capizzi, CLMP™, is the Dean of The Loyalty Academy and a Partner in the Wise Marketer Group.