Nearly all Australian consumers (88%) are members of at least one customer loyalty programme, while 11% belong to more than 10 loyalty programmes, according to the 'For Love Or Money' consumer study by Directivity and Citrus, which found that the nation's most popular programmes are Coles' Flybuys, Woolworths' Everyday Rewards, and Qantas Frequent Flyer. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

According to the report, male shoppers are members of an average of three loyalty programmes, while their female counterparts reported an average membership of five programmes. Half (49%) of the men are active in all the loyalty programmes of which they are members, compared to only 41% for women.

But despite these encouraging figures, the study found that fewer than half of the consumers surveyed felt more loyal to a reward programme's brand as a result of their membership. This suggests that, although reward programmes clearly influence customer purchase behaviour and even brand choices, they do not always equate to customer loyalty.

The 55+ age group were found to buy more than their younger counterparts, and they also tend to buy from companies that offer a loyalty programme in favour of those that do not. But, paradoxically, they also more likely to believe that loyalty programmes do not offer any real value.

Having a tiered rewards programme such as gold/silver/platinum memberships based on the amount you spend wasn't as popular with consumers, with only 36% saying they were very important.

"Basic monetary rewards give brands a 'ticket to play' in the loyalty game but the real opportunity lies in building deeper engagement with members through more personally relevant, unexpected and emotional rewards," said Adam Posner, CEO for Directivity. "This plays out in the research which shows surprise rewards such as a gift on your birthday, exclusive offers or special experiences go a long way to overcoming the belief that programmes don't offer any real value."

Australia's top ten loyalty programmes, as cited by consumers, are:

  1. Coles Flybuys
  2. Woolworths Everyday Rewards
  3. Qantas Frequent Flyer
  4. MYERone
  5. Priceline
  6. Virgin Velocity
  7. CBA credit card
  8. IGA
  9. Millers
  10. Spotlight

The full report has been made available for free download online - click here (free registration required).