Study Shows Consumer Disconnect On Credit Cards

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A majority (66%) of consumers say that discounts are the reason they participate in the loyalty programs they join. But, when it comes time to collect their rewards, most consumers choose to redeem their points for gift certificates, according to actual customer behavior patterns tracked in loyalty marketing programs operated by Maritz Loyalty Marketing.

Additionally, the Maritz Poll found that after discounts, consumers say that cash back (54%) is the next most popular reason, followed by merchandise (49%), gift certificates (34%) and travel (29%). However, when actually redeeming rewards they have earned, consumers redeem for gift certificates most often, followed by cash back, discounts, merchandise and travel.

"Consumers' stated preferences and their actual behavior in loyalty/rewards programs do not always match," said Gail Sneed, director, market development for Maritz Loyalty Marketing. "With complex rewards programs, it is important to understand consumers' behavior patterns and motivations-otherwise programs could fail to accomplish their intended goals. It's critical for companies to avoid making assumptions about their target audience's preferences and desires, and rather employ a strategic approach to truly understand customer behavior."

According to Maritz, respondents' reward preferences also vary significantly with income level and age. Younger respondents (73% aged 18 to 34) are more likely to favor discounts than are older consumers (54% aged 45 to 54). Discounts are also more appealing to consumers with income levels under $60,000 (71%).

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