Canadians Join Loyalty Programs Over 50% More Often than Americans: Study

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Canadians Join Loyalty Programs Over 50% More Often than Americans: Study

CINCINNATI -- Eighty-six percent of general adult Canadian consumers say they are participants in loyalty marketing programs, a newly released demographics study by loyalty marketing publisher and consulting firm Colloquy has found. South of the Canadian border, however, just 57 percent of the general adult segment call themselves loyalty program participants, according a U.S. market loyalty demographics survey Colloquy released earlier this year.

"Coalition loyalty marketing in Canada is the difference maker," said Colloquy director Kelly Hlavinka, co-author of the Canadian loyalty study. "Canada's loyalty landscape is heavily influenced by the presence of the AIR MILES Rewards Program, a national loyalty coalition that accounts for a 70 percent penetration level among the nation's households. No such national coalition exists in the United States.

"Additionally, the U.S. market is characterized by a more fragmented national brand presence in key loyalty sectors such as grocery, retail fuel, and banking," added Hlavinka. "The result is greater concentration of market share among major Canadian brands than exists in the United States."

Other major contrasts between Canadian and U.S. loyalty program participation habits include the following:
-- About 75 percent of Canadian consumers actively participate in loyalty programs, vs. 39.5 percent in the United States.
-- Canadian consumers are more willing to accumulate points and miles that yield free travel, in-store merchandise, or free reward catalog redemptions. General adult respondents said that 69 percent of the programs they take part in offer points, compared with 39 percent for Americans in the same segment. For their part, U.S. consumers prefer cash-back programs, with almost 55 percent of the programs they belong to offering cash-back rewards.
-- While U.S. redemption statistics indicate self-gratification, Canadians are likely to share rewards with friends and family.
-- Canadians are more likely to belong to and take part in competing programs. Marketers are thus under pressure to come up with unique, differentiated offerings for the discriminating Canadian loyalty audience.

The firm's findings are collected in a white paper, "The Canadian Difference: A Comparison of Loyalty Marketing Perceptions Among Specific Canadian Consumer Segments," available free of charge at The report highlights specific trends, attitudes and differences within the Canadian demographic segments across retail, travel and financial services.