ACNielsen

ACNielsen

September 16, 2005 13:00 ET

Loyalty Program Participation Rate on the Rise According to New ACNielsen Study

MARKHAM, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 16, 2005) -

Programs Growing in Importance, but not a Main Reason why Consumers Choose Where to Shop

Nearly all Canadians (97%) participate in at least one loyalty program (including airline programs). However, when it comes to the retail industry, most shoppers cite factors other than the availability of a loyalty program as their main reasons for choosing where to shop. Those are among the findings from PanelTrack Loyalty Card Study 2005 from ACNielsen, the world's leading provider of consumer and marketplace information.

As the chart below shows, household participation in loyalty programs grew across all retail sectors from 2003 to 2004.



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Households Participating in Preferred Card/Frequent Shopper Programs
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Retail Channel 2004 2003 Pt. Change
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Mass, Dept. Stores,
Gen. Merch., 95% 91% +4
or Warehouse Clubs
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Grocery Store
or Supermarket 76% 75% +1
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Drug Store 62% 61% +1
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Oil & Gas Store 62% 60% +2
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Source: ACNielsen PanelTrack Loyalty Card Study 2005


Usage among card holders is very high as well, with the vast majority of program members across all four sectors using their cards "most of the time" or "every time" they shop.

According to Brad Hodgins, product manager, ACNielsen, "The study results show that retailers have been extremely successful in registering shoppers in their loyalty programs and that shoppers have become accustomed to using their membership cards to get the best prices."

While most shoppers sign up for the programs offered to them, a relatively low but increasing number of participating households said frequent shopper programs are either extremely or very important. Similar results were found when these households were asked whether they are more likely to shop at a store that offers such a program.



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Percentage indicating
it's extremely or
very important that the Percentage indicating
store(s) they shop in they are more likely to
offers a preferred shop at a store with
card/frequent shopper a preferred card/frequent
program shopper program
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Retail Channel 2004 2003 2004 2003
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Mass, Dept.
Stores, Gen. 22% 20% 26% 27%
Merch., or
Warehouse Clubs
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Grocery Store or
Supermarket 25% 20% 34% 33%
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Drug Store 24% 18% 33% 29%
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Oil & Gas Store 36% 28% 42% 35%
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Source: ACNielsen PanelTrack Loyalty Card Study 2005


According to Hodgins, "We saw especially large improvements in shopper attitudes toward loyalty programs offered by oil & gas stores. With the current high prices for gas, it's not surprising that loyalty programs are gaining significant ground with Canadian households in this sector."

While loyalty programs are growing in importance to shoppers, the existence of such a program ranked relatively low as a main reason why consumers choose where to shop. The following chart shows the top three reasons why shoppers in each of the four retail sectors choose the stores where they use their frequent shopper cards.



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What are the main reasons why you shop at the store where you use
your Frequent shopper program card?
(Respondents could choose up to three reasons.)
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Mass, Dept.
Stores, Grocery
Gen. Merch., or Store or
Warehouse Clubs Supermarket Drug Store Oil & Gas Store
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Reason % Reason % Reason % Reason %
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Wide
Variety of Convenient Convenient Convenient
merchandise 64 location 62 location 66 location 68
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Wide Wide
Everyday variety of variety of Self-serve
Low prices 49 merchandise 47 merchandise 32 gas pumps 33
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Convenient Everyday Knowledgeable Pay-at-
location 41 low prices 37 pharmacist 29 the-pump 24
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Source: ACNielsen PanelTrack Loyalty Card Study 2005


"Frequent shopper programs have become so common, that many consumers just expect their store to have such a program," said Hodgins. "Now it's time for more retailers to take their programs to the next level and move from offering every card holder the same discount to using the programs for improved target marketing."

The most recent edition of ACNielsen's annual Loyalty Card study was based on nearly 9,000 responses from members of the Homescan® consumer panel. The study offers clients the ability to better understand the attitudes and behaviours of consumers in the area of loyalty programs.

ACNielsen, a VNU business, is the world's leading marketing information provider. Offering services in more than 100 countries, the unit provides measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics and consumer attitudes and behavior. Clients rely on ACNielsen's market research, proprietary products, analytical tools and professional service to understand competitive performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of their marketing and sales campaigns.

ACNielsen Canada is based in Markham, Ontario, with regional offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.

Note to Editors: Look for this press release and other ACNielsen news on the Internet at http://acnielsen.com/news and http://www.acnielsen.ca.


Contact Information

  • ACNielsen
    Marlene Jenett
    (905) 943-8511