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How Generation Y Will Reshape Customer Loyalty

New study explores Millennial attitudes towards loyalty, privacy and technology: Gen Y skeptical of location-based offers, mobile wallet; but will reveal personal details for fast, free and easy rewards

MONTREAL, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Comprising more than 1.7 billion consumers worldwide—77 million in the United States alone—the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y, presents some profound implications for marketers as it comes of age and takes the reins of the global consumer economy. According to a proprietary study released today by Aimia to coincide with its global rebranding from Groupe Aeroplan, Inc., Millennial consumers will change the way companies and brands build sustainable customer loyalty.

To compare the attitudes and behaviors of Millennials to older consumers, Aimia commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct an online study of more than 6,000 consumers in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. The first part of this study, "Born This Way: The US Millennial Loyalty Survey," focuses on Millennial Consumers in the US. Aimia will release subsequent reports on UK and Canadian Millennials in October and November 2011, respectively.

"The US Millennial generation is bigger than the Baby Boom generation and three times the size of Generation X," said Rick Ferguson, Vice President Knowledge Development for Aimia. "With the Baby Boom generation retiring, it's critically important for marketers to understand how Millennial attitudes towards technology, data privacy and rewards will change the way brands build strong, profitable relationships with their best customers."

The US Millennial Loyalty Survey presents a comprehensive view of customer loyalty expectations among the next great cohort of consumer spending. Among the high-level findings are these important insights:

Loyalty Behaviors
  • Over three-quarters (77%) of US Millennial consumers claim participation in loyalty and reward programs, compared to four in five (82%) non-Millennials consumers.
  • Over three-quarters (78%) of US Millennials are more likely to choose a brand that offers a loyalty or reward program over a brand that doesn't offer one.
  • In unprompted responses, US Millennials rate loyalty rewards as the top incentive they look for in exchange for sharing personal information with marketers.
  • Nearly half of US Millennials (44%) are willing to promote products or brands through social media in exchange for rewards.
  • When introduced to the concept of a US coalition loyalty program, 74% of Millennials and 87% of older consumers rate the ability to earn a common currency among multiple partners as their top desired loyalty program benefit.

Mobile Technology
  • US Millennials are skeptical of the value of location-based marketing offers delivered via smart phone, with only one in ten (13%) claiming to have responded to such an offer.
  • Using a mobile device as a substitute for carrying a plastic loyalty card is the top requested mobile payment application for Millennials, (26% express interest); meanwhile, only one in ten (13%) express interest in using a mobile device as a credit or debit card.

  • US Millennials are significantly less concerned than non-Millennials with data privacy and security overall. Of all named marketing channels in the survey, loyalty and reward programs are perceived as the most privacy-friendly by Millennials: Only 14% of Millennial loyalty program members are concerned about sharing personal information with loyalty programs.
  • Nearly half of US Millennials (47%) agree that they're more likely to share personal details with a brand that offers loyalty and reward incentives.

"Millennials are even more willing to participate in loyalty and reward programs than their parents, but they expect reward programs to be free, easy and fast," continued Ferguson. "This generation also relies heavily on outside information to make purchase decisions—information that is often out of the realm of control for marketers. The winners in building sustainable brand loyalty with Millennials will be those who break through the information overload to deliver value at the level of the individual customer."

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