STUDY: Gen Zers Don’t Use Loyalty Programs Despite Being Brand-Loyal

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New research from Kobie Marketing reveals nuances in generational loyalty preferences, finds that Gen X is the most likely to join and engage in loyalty programs

For marketers who can deliver genuine experiences to this emerging cohort of shoppers, there is plenty of opportunity to strengthen relationships with [Gen Zers] and cultivate brand loyalty.

The generation most likely to make loyalty-driven purchases has the fewest active loyalty program members, while Gen X shoppers are the most likely to join loyalty programs, indicating an opportunity for loyalty marketers to engage this active generation. According to a study released today by Kobie Marketing, only 15 percent of Gen Zers reported being actively engaged in three or more loyalty programs compared to the consumer average of 41 percent across all age groups.

The “Loyalty in the Age of the Connected Consumer” report reveals key differences across generational preferences for loyalty programs and illuminates the factors that appeal to today’s connected consumer. The report found that almost a third (28 percent) of privacy-aware Gen Zers cite exposing too much personal information as a reason for not joining loyalty programs, demonstrating an imperative for transparency from brands who wish to appeal to the youngest generation.

“Our research provides a snapshot of current consumers’ expectations and preferences around shopping and brand loyalty,” said Dave Andreadakis, chief strategy officer at Kobie Marketing. “Gen Zers are cautious, digitally savvy consumers who work hard. They’re loyal to the brands that communicate with them on their terms, brands who provide clear value and respect their privacy. For marketers who can deliver genuine experiences to this emerging cohort of shoppers, there is plenty of opportunity to strengthen relationships with them and cultivate brand loyalty.”

The same report found that the oft-overlooked Generation X is the most likely to belong to and partake in in loyalty programs. In fact, almost two-thirds (62 percent) of Gen Xers are members of three or more programs. Gen Xers are also more engaged program members, with 51 percent actively earning and redeeming points in at least three programs.

The report’s findings reveal a key opportunity to engage this underappreciated cohort of shoppers by delivering on the quality they’ve come to expect. In fact, almost a third (31 percent) of Gen Xers cite quality of products as the most significant factor in their decision to shop with a brand again.

“While consumers are united in their preference for simplicity and convenience, we know that different types of programs work for different segments of shoppers,” said Andreadakis. “Beyond generational differences, consumer life stage, societal trends and the adoption curve for new technologies all intersect to drive individual consumer behaviors. To create experiences that convert buyers into loyal customers, marketers must also move beyond a one-size-fits-all approach.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Seventy-five percent of consumers across age groups actively earn and redeem rewards in three or fewer programs.
  • Baby boomers and those from the Silent Generation are most likely to join a tender-neutral loyalty program, with 36% ranking it among their top three loyalty model preferences.
  • Millennials value convenience (28 percent) and access to discounts (78 percent) most, higher than any other generation.
  • Gen Z is more open to receiving information from brands through YouTube than other generations (20 percent vs. less than 6 percent for all other generations).
  • Thirty-one percent of Gen X and baby boomers feel that quality is the most significant factor when it comes to brand loyalty.

The “Loyalty in the Age of the Connected Consumer” report is based on a survey of over 1,000 consumers to gauge the role that timing, information and delivery channels play in their overall decision journey. Respondents were evenly distributed across age ranges, which were defined as Generation Z (ages 19-21), millennials (22-37), Generation X (38-52), baby boomers (53-71) and the Silent Generation (72+).

For additional insights into the generational differences and consumer preferences that define today’s shoppers, download “Loyalty in the Age of the Connected Consumer” here.

About Kobie
Kobie is a loyalty marketing company that designs, builds, optimizes and supports customer experiences for many of the world's most successful brands. Kobie believes in building relationships by deepening the emotional and behavioral connections brands have with their customers. Their integrated and innovative loyalty solutions deliver the most impactful results for their clients' bottom line. To learn more, visit

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Lucas Strombeck
Kobie Marketing
+1 (312) 648-6005 Ext: 138
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