American consumers exhibit striking regional differences in how they earn rewards and use loyalty programs to save on the cost of fuel, according to the recently published “Road to Rewards: American Shopper Insights” report from Excentus (www.excentus.com), and they remain eager to save regardless of prices at the pump. Excentus offers the Fuel Rewards® and fuelperks! programs, and a proprietary software engine that drives a range of loyalty and marketing programs.
Not only do consumers differ in their rates of program membership, frequency and activity within loyalty programs linked to fuel savings, they also differ in their reliance on brands, retailers, technology and peer influence for earning and tracking their rewards.
The report’s findings, based on an Ipsos eNation-Excentus survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, “can help retailers, merchants and loyalty program managers improve their customer recruitment, retention, segmentation and targeting efforts, based on where consumers live and how they interact with rewards programs in those regions,” said Brandon Logsdon, President and CEO of Excentus. Available to download, “The Road to Rewards: American Shopper Insights” is the third in a series of reports examining the impact of loyalty programs and loyalty currencies on consumer behaviors; it includes region-specific findings, such as:
- Midwesterners are most active in pursuing fuel savings rewards; 57% belong to a loyalty program that enables them to save on fuel, compared with 56% membership rates in the West, 52% South and 50% Northeast. Midwesterners (32%) also earn and redeem rewards more actively, compared with 31% South, 26% West and 25% Northeast.
- Northeasterners (27%) say they drive more than consumers in other regions (vs. 23% Midwest, 18% South, 10% West), and they are more likely (15%) to join a fuel savings rewards program based on a peer’s recommendation than consumers elsewhere (9%).
- Southerners are more likely to choose brands, grocers and retailers based on the ability to earn fuel savings, and 44% say they join loyalty programs to save money any way they can, compared to 41% Midwest, 37% West and 33% Northeast.
- Westerners (23%) are more likely to track their fuel savings rewards from a mobile app (range of 12%-18% in other regions), and more than half (52%) join a fuel savings rewards program because it is offered where they already shop.
“Knowing which behaviors and preferences U.S. consumers share – and which are unique or more relevant to a specific region – can help marketers create, improve and fine-tune new or existing loyalty programs, whether they are partner-driven or standalone,” Logsdon says. “Regional data can also help loyalty programs find what works best to turn existing customers into even better customers–more engagement, greater frequency and more revenues.”
In the Excentus-Ipsos eNation survey, fuel savings ranked #1 as consumers’ preferred loyalty program incentive – higher than cash-back offers, instant discounts, coupons and travel-related points and miles. Excentus data also shows that consumers embrace the ability to save on gasoline; on average, 65% redeem their fuel savings on purchases of 12-13 gallons a month, whether prices are $2 or nearly $4 a gallon. The July 2015 survey of 1,016 U.S. consumers has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.