One must never look down on the value of a loyalty card stuffed into a consumer’s wallet, or an app which collects points for them on their smartphones.

A recent Nielsen report, which surveyed 29,000 internet respondents in 58 countries, revealed that eight out of 10 consumers globally were more likely to spend at stores with loyalty programmes.

Within Southeast Asia, where the survey covered six major markets, it is evident that such schemes appeal more to shoppers in Thailand (92 percent) and Vietnam (94 percent), as compared to Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines (91 percent), as well as Indonesia (86 percent).

The survey was also conducted across 16 categories including fast-moving consumer goods, technology products, and retail establishments.

Pete Gale, Managing Director of Retailer Services in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Greater China, Nielsen, commented that retail loyalty programmes “are now playing a strong role in influencing consumers’ choice of store.” In fact, he added that consumers in Southeast Asia are more likely to be enticed by such activities than their counterparts in other regions.

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He said, “For retailers, loyalty programs provide powerful insights that enable them to tailor their offers to individual customer needs, thereby increasing the frequency of visits to their stores as well as the amount spent.”

In terms of benefits, Southeast Asians are often geared toward discounted or free products. Gale also observed that loyalty programme providers are becoming increasingly savvy on how to tap into the insights available.

He added, “In the coming years we can expect to see the sophistication of loyalty programs across the region improve as marketers develop new and innovative ways to identify and deliver the program benefits that are of most importance to their customers.”

In Southeast Asia, there is a bevy of mobile loyalty apps and programmes which have been making use of different technologies to promote sales. For example, Stamp in Thailand takes advantage of a physical device; ShopGuru in Singapore utilises ultrasound technology to reward customers; and there’s Pouch in Indonesia which integrates loyalty with games and social media.


Southeast Asian respondents also revealed through the survey that out of the 16 categories provided, mobile phone brands and service providers, as well as financial institutions, received the highest level of loyalty. Alcoholic beverages, on the other hand, secured the lowest rank on the chart, along with online retailers.


These brands should still exercise caution when dealing with consumers in the region. Nielsen’s survey also indicated that price and quality were two key attributes offered by retailers which would encourage switching of loyalty.

However, the market is still relatively diverse. 51 percent of consumers in the Philippines noted that they would switch brands, services or retailers for a better quality while 52 percent of Singaporean and Vietnamese consumers said that they would switch for a better price instead.


Featured Image Credit: Kunal Mehta /