Canadians among the most active loyalty program users

Consumers view rewards as more important to loyalty than other factors, but are less likely to give their points to charity.

Canadian levels of engagement with loyalty programs are among the highest globally, according to a new global study by KPMG. But, at the same time, they are more hesitant than consumers in a lot of other countries to give away their loyalty points to a good cause.

The consultancy’s Truth About Customer Loyalty report includes responses from 18,000 consumers worldwide, including 876 Canadians. The sample consists of 4% of Gen Z consumers, 41% of millennials, 33% of Gen X, 17% of Baby Boomers and 4% of the Silent Generation (born between 1925 and 1945).

Canadians are among the most active loyalty program users in the world, with 56% making purchases that earn rewards or benefits several times a week. Only Australia (61%) and Italy (which ties at 56%) are more or as active as Canadians, surpassing consumers in the U.S. (42%).

But compared to the global average of 52%, only 34% of Canadians – who, as a country, are sitting on around $16 billion in unredeemed loyalty points, according to Bond Brand Loyalty research – prefer to donate their loyalty rewards to a good cause over redeeming them personally, putting them on equal footing with consumers in the U.K. and Japan. The customers most likely to donate their rewards are in China (89%), India (74%), Thailand (70%) and Mexico (64%). In spite of their less frequent engagement with loyalty programs, more Americans (46%) than Canadians prefer to do so as well.

Consumers’ willingness to give differs between younger and older segments. Millennials are much more willing to donate their reward points – in Canada, 42% of millennials, 36% of Gen Z, 32% of Gen X and 24% of Baby Boomers indicate they would like to give them away.

Overall, KPMG found Canadians tend to be more loyal to brands whose loyalty programs they use. As many of 75% of consumers here define loyalty as participating in a rewards program – a proportion far exceeding those who attribute brand loyalty to a company’s commitment to sustainability and the environment. Only 29% of Canadians consider that commitment an important aspect of brand loyalty (below the 37% average). Similarly, 15% of Canadians say they are faithful to a brand based on its charitable or community giving (again, lower than the 22% global average).

At a global level, the report notes that the factors most likely to keep consumers loyal are product quality (74%), followed by value for money (66%), product consistency (65%), customer service (56%), easy shopping experience (55%), selection or product assortment (55%) and pricing (54%).