What 18-24 year olds think of Loyalty Programmes

75% of 18-24 year olds are more inclined to buy from retailers sending emails offering special treatment as a loyal customer as found by Ometria, and 73% agree that loyalty programmes are a great way for brands and businesses to reward their customers; this age range are the customers of the future. Those creating and developing loyalty programmes need to sit up and take note of exactly what it is that 18 – 24 years olds are engaged with so their custom is not lost and they don’t feel ignored by brands.


Our recent joint whitepaper with YouGov “What The British Think of Loyalty Programmes” highlighted that 18-24 year olds aren’t as engaged as other age groups with loyalty programmes. They are significantly less likely to be members –  only 61% are members of a loyalty programme, compared to a national average of 77%.

To understand why we contacted twenty 18-24 year olds by phone and email and asked whether they used loyalty programmes, what they thought of them and how they thought they could be improved. This information, coupled with our findings from the whitepaper, found that there are three main factors that are driving lower engagement in people aged 18-24.


1. Instant Gratification

This age range are expecting so much more from loyalty programmes than their predecessors and they expect it instantly. 30% of 18-24 year olds that we spoke to wanted and expected something just for signing up and simply giving nothing more than their personal data for a reward or discount. “Collector” loyalty schemes are often viewed as too slow by this demographic as they do not want to spend time accruing the points, therefore the majority fall into the “Early Redeemer” category spending any points they may have accumulated at the earliest opportunity. Early Redeemers are digital and technology focused and actively look for new tech services and ways to save time.


2. Digital Access

Loyalty programmes need to move with the times, with consumers wanting instant access, and to be able to access everything digitally whenever and wherever they need to. They do not want to spend time filling in a form and waiting 2 weeks for a loyalty membership card to arrive. The best way to access and engage this group is through digital platforms to make the most of their interest in technology, but beware as research by Ometria found that 82% find too many emails annoying.

3. Attention from professional marketers

The third and final major factor driving a shift in loyalty programmes, is the increased attention by senior marketers who see the benefit of them, and the bottom line. However, marketers still need to do more to raise awareness of loyalty schemes for this age range as 2/3 of our respondents initially asked “what a loyalty scheme was” but when explained, it was found that 90% were actually signed up in one form or another, with 44% being subscribed to a Supermarket loyalty scheme.

There are a variety of loyalty schemes out there at the moment, and the brands currently getting it right with 18-24 year olds are ASOS A-List with points being awarded with every single purchase and points tallied up every month to see if you have qualified for a voucher. The 16-25 Railcard provides instant savings for holders with the card often paying for itself within 3 to 4 trips. The Nando’s loyalty scheme provides digital access through its app alongside instant gratification with users receiving a “bonus chilli” just for registering, meaning there is only 2 more chillies required to reach the first reward.


Through our research and whitepaper, it is clear that loyalty schemes don’t resonate with the younger generation the way traditional loyalty programmes did years ago. Our findings have highlighted that in order to engage this age group, brands need to ensure that they are online, engaging consumers through a digital platform, offering instant rewards for signing up and building awareness and understanding. Rewards that offer freedom, flexibility and choice work best. Ultimately, the best thing for loyalty marketers to do to engage this hard to reach group, is to get out there, talk to them, understand what they want and then develop solutions that engage them.


    Charlie Hills
    MD & Head of Strategy