Bank on Women, Northeasterners and Westerners to Use Reward Programs: Study

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Rewards program members are more likely to have spent a greater amount of money in the past six months across 11 retail categories, including home improvement, electronics, grocery and bookstores.

This was a key finding from a study by Maritz Research for Maritz Loyalty Marketing.

St. Louis-based Maritz Loyalty Marketing, a division of Martiz Inc., designs, launches and operates full-service loyalty marketing solutions.

Women (62 percent) are significantly more likely to belong to a store or membership loyalty program than men, the study found. However, more than half of the men surveyed (54 percent) say they are part of a program.

Customer loyalty program members tend to be younger than those who aren't members with 71 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds belonging to store or membership programs. And survey respondents older than 55 made up the highest percentage of non-program members.

Simply having kids is another factor. Those who have children under the age of 18 in their household are significantly more likely to have a store or membership program card or a co-branded credit card.

Regardless of the fact that many stores are national chains, according to the study, members of customer rewards programs tend to be clustered by region. The Northeast (70 percent) and West (63 percent) have the highest concentration of store or membership loyalty program participants. People in the South (37 percent) and the Midwest (42 percent) are significantly more likely to not belong to any type of consumer loyalty program.

The online study of 2,178 adult shoppers who made a purchase in the six months prior to the study from at least one of 11 retail categories revealed the demographic make-up of consumer reward program members. The categories included: Specialty apparel/large premium specialty stores (Nordstrom, Gap), home improvement (Home Depot, Lowe's), electronics (Best Buy, Circuit City), Department store or mass merchandise (Macy's, Sears), drug stores (Walgreens, Medicine Shoppe) discount mass merchandisers (Target, Wal-Mart) grocery stores (Kroger, Safeway), toy stores (Toys "R" Us, FAO Schwarz), office supply stores (Office Depot, Staples), Book stores (Barnes & Noble, Borders) and home furnishing stores (Pottery Barn, Linens-N-Things).

Maritz Loyalty Marketing examined various demographic characteristics, including rural vs. city living, marital status, income level and gender, for significant differences to determine what types of people are carrying consumer loyalty program cards in their wallets.

The study revealed that loyalty program members are more likely to be one or more of the following: female, young, living with children under the age of 18 in the household or from the Northeast.

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