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Customer Loyalty Index 2022: A Review Of US Consumer Attributes Impacting Loyalty To Retailers, Brands, And Stores

customer-loyalty-index-2022:-a-review-of-us-consumer-attributes-impacting-loyalty-to-retailers,-brands,-and-stores

Customer loyalty: it’s something we, as marketers, speak about often. But what do consumers think about loyalty? How do they choose which brands are worthy of their loyalty? And what do they want marketers to know when it comes to earning their loyalty?

In August 2022, Emarsys sought to answer these questions and more, so we asked 4,008 general consumers in the US all about loyalty. We wanted to find out how, from a consumer’s perspective, marketers can drive loyalty in 2023 and beyond — and they delivered.

Our Customer Loyalty Index 2022 contains the results of these inquiries, and it tells us a lot about what loyalty looks like in today’s world of digital-first retail, always-on commerce, and increasingly in-control consumers. It also reveals how the past few turbulent years have impacted which brands consumers are loyal to, and how they demonstrate their loyalty.

Loyalty By Type

Last year, we conducted our first Customer Loyalty Index and identified five key types of customer loyalty (i.e., the different ways customers are loyal):

Ema Customer Loyalty Key Types Cli22 Blog Global En American 1

But following a year of pandemic recovery that led to global inflation and increased cost of living around the world, the way customers express their loyalty is shifting.

The US: Loyalty In 2022

In the US, overall loyalty has increased, but on a smaller scale when compared to increases in customer loyalty globally. 58% of US respondents agreed with the statement “I am more loyal to retailers that offer me discounts, incentives, and rewards” — a humble 7% increase from 51% in 2021.

The research shows that US customers still value personalized experiences from brands, regardless of economic turbulence, and business leaders should continue investing in CX strategies to better position themselves for success post-recession. Here are a few stats that show just how vital exceptional CX and personalization are to customers:

  • 74% of consumers are more loyal to retailers that offer them discounts, incentives, and rewards, provide great customer service, and market to them in a personalized way that accounts for their unique needs. 
  • Just over two-fifths (43%) of respondents have switched from a brand they were loyal to due to a bad experience, underlining the importance of delivering exceptional CX.
  • 57% of respondents ranked “making the shopping experience difficult,” “halting free returns,” “treating existing customers poorly,” and “not offering discounts for customer loyalty” as reasons a brand would lose their loyalty. 

In an era of high inflation and economic uncertainty, overall customer loyalty is tied more directly to price now than it was a year ago. Three in five (60%) respondents said that inflation has made them leave brands to which they’ve previously been loyal to, in an effort to save money.

In addition to this overall trend, this year’s report also reveals how individual attributes – income, age, geography, and ethical values – can affect customer loyalty differently.

The Impact of Inflation

Inflation is another factor that impacts customer loyalty in the USA, and stark variations in the way people make purchasing decisions can be found based on political affiliation and gender.

Inflation and/or the cost-of-living crisis has made me leave brands I have previously been loyal to in order to save money.”*

Democrats Republicans
“Agree” 26% 18%

Inflation and/or the cost-of-living crisis has made me leave brands I have previously been loyal to in order to save money.”*

Male Female
“Agree” 26% 18%

*Statistics from Emarsys (an SAP Company) Customer Loyalty Index 2022, a study of 4,008 consumers in the US.

Not All Industries Are Created Equal When It Comes to Loyalty

Survey respondents were asked to identify which industries the retailers they are most loyal to are in. Here’s what the research revealed:

Ema Top 7 Industry Us Cli22 Blog Regional Us En

The differences in loyalty between genders also plays out by industry – especially when it comes to beauty, alcohol, and automobiles.

In which industries do the retailers you are most loyal to exist?

Industry Male Female
Beauty and skincare 30% 50%
Technology 33% 24%
Furniture/homeware 19% 21%
Alcoholic drinks 29% 11%
Food delivery 23% 17%
Medicine/pharmaceuticals 19% 22%
Automotives 27% 11%

Statistics from Emarsys (an SAP Company) Customer Loyalty Index 2022, a study of 4,008 consumers in the US.

Generational Views Impact Decision Making

The age group that people fall into largely influences overall sentiment across various decision-making drivers.

I have switched from a brand I was loyal to because of their sustainability practices.”*

Response Age 25-24 Age 35-44 Age 45-54 Age 55+
“Agree” 50% 50% 27% 15%

I am more loyal to retailers that prioritize sustainable business practices.”*

Response Age 25-24 Age 35-44 Age 45-54 Age 55+
“Agree” 29% 31% 20% 16%

*Statistics from Emarsys (an SAP Company) Customer Loyalty Index 2022, a study of 4,008 consumers in the US.

Broad agreement on “made in the US” products, differing opinions on “made someplace else.” 

For Americans, “made in the US” still means something, and loyalty has a direct tie to this, with 68% of respondents saying they are more likely to be loyal to US-made brands, with minimal differences across geographic, gender, and even political lines.

How Political Affiliation Impacts Loyalty

The political party Americans support greatly impacts the products they’re loyal to.

Ema Made In Usa Politics Cli22 Blog Regional Us En 1

How Gender and Age Impact Loyalty

The gender and age group that people fall into also impact decision-making when it comes to products “made in” various countries.

Ema Gender And Age Cli22 Blog Regional Us En

How Geography Impacts Loyalty

The state people call home also determines where they stand on brand loyalty as it relates to product origin.

“To what extent are you more or less likely to be loyal to a brand if their products are made in Canada?“*

HOME CITY California Florida Michigan
“More Likely” 51% 39% 26%

“To what extent are you more or less likely to be loyal to a brand if their products are made in Mexico?“*

HOME CITY California Florida Michigan
“More Likely” 45% 33% 13%

“To what extent are you more or less likely to be loyal to a brand if their products are made in China?“*

HOME CITY California Florida Michigan
“More Likely” 37% 24% 10%

*Statistics from Emarsys (an SAP Company) Customer Loyalty Index 2022, a study of 4,008 consumers in the US.

When It Comes to Loyalty, Groups Give Different Weight to Brands’ Alignment With Their Values

Although “price” is a higher determinant of customer loyalty (58%) than “alignment with values” (29%), people of different political stripes respond to a brand’s values differently.

Thinking about your loyalty to certain brands, which of the following statements do you agree with?

Statement Democrats Republicans
“I am more loyal to retailers that offer me discounts, incentives, and rewards.” 60% 59%
“I am more loyal to retailers that have strong moral or ethical values.” 36% 26%
“I have switched from a brand I was loyal to following a controversy with a key stakeholder (e.g., a CEO or Founder).” 48% 29%
“I have switched from a brand I was loyal to because of their sustainability practices.” 50% 28%
“I am more loyal to retailers that prioritize sustainable business practices.” 34% 18%

Statistics from Emarsys (an SAP Company) Customer Loyalty Index 2022, a study of 4,008 consumers in the US.

Democrats tend to be more brand loyal in the face of rising prices, compared to Republicans.

“If my favorite brands increased their prices by 25%, I would stop buying from them.”

Industry Sector Democrats Republicans
Airlines 32% 44%
Alcoholic drinks 33% 43%
Automobiles 33% 46%
Beauty and skincare 32% 44%
Clothing and fashion 32% 43%
Energy 28% 39%
Food 27% 34%
Food delivery 36% 50%
Furniture / homeware 32% 47%
Medicine / pharmaceuticals 28% 35%
Non-alcoholic drinks 34% 45%
Technology 29% 42%

Statistics from Emarsys (an SAP Company) Customer Loyalty Index 2022, a study of 4,008 consumers in the US.

Men tend to be more brand loyal in the face of rising prices compared to women. 

“If my favorite brands increased their prices by 25%, I would stop buying from them.

Industry Sector Male Female
Airlines 33% 41%
Alcoholic drinks 32% 44%
Automobiles 33% 42%
Beauty and skincare 33% 42%
Clothing and fashion 32% 42%
Energy 30% 37%
Food 26% 32%
Food delivery 37% 49%
Furniture / homeware 35% 44%
Medicine / pharmaceuticals 28% 35%

Statistics from Emarsys (an SAP Company) Customer Loyalty Index 2022, a study of 4,008 consumers in the US.

Older age groups tend to be more likely to cease purchasing in response to an increase in pricing, compared to younger generations. 

“If my favorite brands increased their prices by 25%, I would stop buying from them.

Industry Sector Age 25-34 Age 35-44 Age 45-54 Age 55+
Airlines 28% 27% 44% 53%
Alcoholic drinks 29% 29% 45% 55%
Automobiles 26% 28% 46% 56%
Beauty and skincare 30% 27% 47% 55%
Clothing and fashion 27% 27% 46% 55%
Energy 25% 26% 41% 46%
Food 23% 23% 36% 41%
Food delivery 31% 31% 54% 64%
Furniture / homeware 29% 28% 51% 58%
Medicine / pharmaceuticals 22% 24% 40% 45%

Statistics from Emarsys (an SAP Company) Customer Loyalty Index 2022, a study of 4,008 consumers in the US.

Loyalty In Different Countries

Click below to find out what loyalty looks like for consumers in different countries, including breakdowns for global, British, Australian, French, and German respondents.

The Omnichannel Difference 

As we continue to dive deep into customer loyalty research, one thing is clear: To drive customer loyalty, it’s not enough for brands to be customer centric — they must be customer obsessed.

In May 2022, Emarsys commissioned Forrester Consulting to research which companies were using omnichannel strategies to effectively deepen customer relationships to drive business growth. The results and insights are revealed in The Omnichannel Difference: How the Most Customer Focused Companies Deliver The Value of Omnichannel, where you will learn all about customer-obsessed companies, and how to put the customer at the center of your business.

Statistics from Emarsys (an SAP Company) Customer Loyalty Index 2022, a study of 4,008 consumers in the US.

The Emarsys Customer Loyalty Index, in its second year, is based on a survey of 4,008 nationally representative respondents in the US between August 26th and August 31st, 2022. The survey was conducted by Opinion Matters, which abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society, based on the ESOMAR principles.

Special thanks to our friends at Emarsys for their insights on this topic.
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