US consumers spend loyalty points on holiday gifts

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on December 18, 2014

Six out of ten American shoppers have said they were using points they've earned through customer loyalty programmes to save money on holiday gift-buying in 2014, according to research from Colloquy.

This figure represents a 22% increase in the number of shoppers who are planning to cash in reward points on gift purchases, compared to the 2013 holiday season. Colloquy updated its annual Holiday Loyalty Shopper Study by obtaining responses in October 2014 from 1,000 American consumers nationwide about their holiday shopping behaviour.

In the all-important Millennial demographic (ages 18-34), the intent to use reward points for gift-buying shifts dramatically upward compared to the general population (ages 18-45+):

  • 63% of consumers ages 18-24 plan to use points on gifts in 2014, representing a 43% increase over last year;
  • 71% of consumers ages 25-34 say they'll cash in reward points for gifts, a 34% increase over 2013.

Approximately 62% of consumers ages 35-44 say they'll redeem points for gifts, a 19% jump over last year, and 54% of consumers ages 45 and older say they'll trade points for gifts, a 20% increase over 2013.

"The amount of spending projected in the 2014 holiday season exceeds $600 billion, so 60% of consumers using reward points can generate a lot of redemptions," said Dennis Armbruster, vice president for Colloquy's owner, LoyaltyOne. "Retailers clearly have ample incentive to simplify and encourage reward redemptions and make the holiday shopping experience all the merrier for their best customers."

Among the other key findings from the study were:

  • 35% of shoppers plan their holiday purchases to maximize their customer-reward earnings during the gift-giving season;
  • 20% of shoppers adjust their gift ideas based on which products offer significant bonuses and related rewards;
  • 40% of women and 31% of men say that when shopping this holiday they'll choose retailers that operate customer-reward programmes in which they participate;
  • 10% of shoppers say that so-called soft benefits, such as early access to a product or event, would be a strong incentive to patronise a specific store;
  • Gift cards (52%), coupons (49%) and cash-back offers (48%) rank highest among survey takers for encouraging shopping at a specific store.

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