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Retail loyalty programs bloom

Cincinnati -- Retail loyalty programs have seen some impressive growth since 2011, according to results of the latest Colloquy Loyalty Census. In 2013, department stores achieved 70% growth in loyalty program memberships since the 2011 Colloquy Census, far surpassing the 26.7% rate of growth in loyalty programs across all sectors tabulated in the 2013 census. The number of department store loyalty memberships is 193.9 million.

Other retail sectors experience above-average loyalty growth rates in the past two years include drug stores (45% growth to 142.4 million memberships). Although the specialty retail sector had a slightly below average loyalty program growth rate of 26%, its 360.5 million membership count is the highest among all retail verticals and third among all industries, behind airlines and financial services.

The average U.S. household holds 21.9 memberships in loyalty programs but is active in 9.5 of those. In the 2011 census, the numbers were 18.4 and 8.4. The 2013 census shows that total membership in U.S. loyalty marketing programs across all sectors is 2.647 billion, a 26.7% increase over the 2.089 billion memberships in 2011.\

“As the economy slowly breathes new life, loyalty programs have gained increased awareness,” said Jeff Berry, Colloquy research director. “We expect continued growth as increasingly sophisticated programs revitalize engagement with existing members and attract new participants.”