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COLLOQUY-Total-US-Loyalty-Program-Memberships-2012-June2013Loyalty program memberships are showing strong growth rates again, according to results from the 2013 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census [registration page]. The study indicates that there were 2.647 billion loyalty program memberships last year in the US, representing 26.7% growth from 2.089 billion in 2010. Membership growth rates appear to be on the upswing again after stumbling from a 34.5% increase between 2006 and 2008 to a 16.3% climb between 2008 and 2010. But the news isn’t all good for loyalty practitioners.

That’s because despite healthy growth in memberships (at a compound annual rate of 8.7% since 2000), the proportion of memberships that are active appears to be sliding.

In 2012, 44% of memberships could be classified as active, meaning that members had engaged at least once in the previous 12 months. That’s down from 46% in 2010, and reverses what had been a trend towards increased activity. That is, while the percentage of active memberships grew by 10.9% between 2006 and 2008, that growth rate slowed to 5% between 2008 and 2010 before turning negative (-4.3%) between 2010 and 2012.

So while the number of active memberships actually increased between 2010 and 2012, it increased by a smaller rate than the number of total memberships.

Other Findings:

  • The financial services industry boasted the largest amount of loyalty program members last year, at 548.3 million, up 28% from 2010.
  • Airlines (+14% to 371.2 million) and specialty stores (+26% to 360.5 million) are also seeing strong participation and growth rates.
  • The number of grocery loyalty program members actually dropped by 1% between 2010 and 2012, numbering 172.4 million last year.
  • The retail sector accounted for 39% of total program memberships last year, followed by the travel and hospitality (31%) and financial services (21%) sectors. Neither changed share by more than 1% point from 2010.

About the Data: In 2000, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, COLLOQUY undertook a comprehensive review of loyalty program memberships. To compile the figures, COLLOQUY researched websites, press releases, annual reports and third-party publications to estimate the total number of adults belonging to each program by market. When no data were available, COLLOQUY attempted to get it by phoning and/or emailing the company in question, most often using its existing subscriber database. When new programs were brought to COLLOQUY’s attention, they added them to the compiled list and attempted to quantify membership through primary research.

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