Shoppers to stretch holiday budgets with points
Leading up to the 2010 holiday shopping season, a significant number of US consumers said they are occasional (28%) or frequent (43%) users of customer rewards programmes, according to a survey by LoyaltyOne and Epsilon Targeting.
The survey of 709 households found that 11% of consumers identified themselves as reward programme members who planned to augment their spending power by using reward points or miles for their holiday purchases.
When that 11% was asked if they would redeem points or miles toward gifts for family and friends, or to treat themselves, 70% said they would be using points for others rather than themselves.
Indeed, the survey noted that consumers are welcoming any budget-stretching help they can get, with only 6.6% of all respondents saying they planned to spend more on holiday purchases in 2010 compared to 2009. Among those who identified themselves as reward programme participants, however, a more hopeful 8.1% said they planned to spend more (23% more than those who don't participate in reward programmes).
Shoppers who are planning to make points or miles part of their gift-giving strategy in 2010 were able to take advantage of two developments: Thanksgiving Day shopping, and free shipping offers. Toys R Us, Old Navy and Sears led the charge among many retailers who announced that they would be open for business on Thanksgiving Day, while Best Buy, J.C. Penny and Target are all offering free shipping. All of these retailers have one thing in common: they all offer customer reward programmes.
"The smartest holiday shoppers have been maximising both savings and convenience by taking advantage of their reward programme memberships at retailers that offered the option of shopping on Thanksgiving, or that save them time and money on shipping," commented LoyaltyOne Consulting managing partner, Dennis Armbruster.
And, according to Epsilon Loyalty Solutions vice president, John Bartold, "Retailers that use data from their reward programmes to respond to customers' most pressing concerns at critical times like the holiday gift giving season can enhance the shopper experience and leverage relationships in a way that deepens loyalty to their store or their brand."