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Survey: Majority Of Shoppers Prefer Discounts On Groceries Over Gas

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The results of a nationwide LoyaltyOne survey show that U.S. grocery shoppers have a resounding message for grocery retailers that have been enticing them with fuel rewards for over a decade: Fuel rewards alone aren’t winning their loyalty. Grocery discounts are the new value driver.

In a March survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers, 72 percent said they’d prefer that grocers offer discounts in the aisle instead of at the pump.

The preference is strongest in the densely populated Northeast, where 81 percent said they’d opt for grocery discounts over gas savings. It’s weakest, but still noteworthy, in the West, where 65 percent favored grocery discounts.

Among the biggest spenders, those who budget $700 a month on groceries, no less than eight out of 10 (83 percent), expressed a preference for grocery discounts vs. gas rewards. Similarly, the majority of shoppers (74 percent), spending $300 to $500 a month, said they prefer grocery discounts to gas savings.

Age-wise, older Millennials are leading the charge for grocery discounts over gas rewards. Among shoppers 25 to 35 years old, 76 percent said they prefer grocery, rather than gas rewards. That’s five percentage points higher than any other age group in a range spanning from 18 years old to 65 and older.

“Too many grocers have become complacent with a one-offer-fits-all mentality about loyalty. Not only is a generic fuel offer not relevant to all customers, it equates to untargeted marketing spending undermining ROI,” LoyaltyOne Consulting Managing Partner Dennis Armbruster said.

“Fuel reward programs still have relevance and value, but our research and client engagements confirm they’re also not a cure-all for building loyalty. Progressive grocers need to heed the signs. Few can afford to not leverage shopper data and explore alternatives or additions to their fuel programs to engage more customer segments, improve their marketing response and derive significant returns,” he added.

Other key findings from the survey include:

• 62 percent of respondents said they’d switch to grocery rewards if a grocer offering gas rewards gave them the option of a different type of reward;

• 24 percent said they’d stay with gas rewards;

• 8 percent said they’d opt for travel rewards; and

• 6 percent chose electronics, housewares or apparel.

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