U.S. Customer Loyalty Program Memberships Reach 3.8 Billion

New consumer research reveals that 53% of Americans participate in a loyalty program because of ease of use.

June 30, 2017

CINCINNATI – U.S. consumers hold 3.8 billion memberships in customer loyalty programs, according to the 2017 Colloquy Loyalty Census. The 3.8 billion tabulation shows that membership growth continues, but has slowed to 15% compared to the 26% growth rate achieved in the 2015 Census when total memberships were 3.3 billion.

“The membership growth slowdown signals the U.S. loyalty market is maturing and retailers need to up their game on how to attract and retain members within their loyalty programs,” said Melissa Fruend, LoyaltyOne Global Solutions partner and Colloquy Census author, in a press release. “In order to improve loyalty marketing, brands must optimize the overall experience by creating more personalized and relevant experiences for their best customers.”

The new consumer survey research from the 2017 Census shows that 53% of U.S. consumers identified “easy to use” as the main reason for participating in a loyalty program, topping “gives me great discounts” (39%) and “easy to understand” (37%), among other reasons.

Conversely, the top reason given for abandoning a program was “it took too long to earn points or miles,” a concern cited by 57% of respondents. Additionally, the Colloquy Census shows that 51% of Americans still trust loyalty programs with their personal information.

The retail sector accounts for 1.6 billion reward program memberships, making it the largest slice of the loyalty pie. The biggest driver for active participation within retail is that the program is “easy to understand.”