British consumers feel that loyalty rewards are more valuable in a recession, with 95% having actively participated in travel and shopping reward schemes, and 90% planning to redeem them during 2009, according to research published by the Air Miles travel rewards programme in the UK.
According to the survey, many consumers said they feel that loyalty rewards hold increasing value in the current economic downturn, and that they plan to use and collect more rewards than ever before during 2009 to help "soften the bite" of the looming recession.
As the credit crunch takes hold and UK consumers increasingly tighten their purse strings, nearly two thirds (61%) said they plan to take advantage of more loyalty schemes to help stretch their income. The research also revealed that:
- 96% of people are currently a member of a reward scheme;
- 64% of people belong to three or more loyalty schemes;
- More women than men are likely to take advantage of more loyalty schemes during 2009 (65% compared to 56%);
- Membership of loyalty schemes is more popular in general among women than men (72% of women were members of 3+ schemes, compared to 51% of men);
- Membership of loyalty schemes is more widespread among older people (46% of 18-29 year olds belonged to 3+ schemes, compared to 56% among 30-39 year olds, and 67% for the 40+ age group);
- 41% said that holidays, free flights, and days out rewards will be the most valuable rewards during 2009 (a finding supported by the fact that 32% of Air Miles members that also participate in two or more other loyalty schemes said that the programme offers the most exciting rewards).
According to Andrea Burchett, director of relationship marketing and insight for Air Miles, the programme is already experiencing an increase in new members joining the scheme and collecting miles to redeem for free flights, and expects old members who may have forgotten about their existing Air Miles balance to return to the scheme.
The programme has also launched its first television advertising campaign for four years (with the strapline "Make your money fly") to help raise consumer awareness of flight redemptions that include airline taxes, fees and surcharges.
Air Miles can currently be collected through Lloyds TSB, Tesco, Shell, Scottish and Southern Energy and with more than 150 online retailers including JohnLewis.com, Debenhams.com, Apple, eBay.co.uk, Comet, Currys, Boden, Waterstone's and HMV.com.