Global digital loyalty programmes to exceed 32 billion

New research suggests that the number of global digital loyalty programme memberships is to exceed 32 billion by the year 2026.

There are currently 24 billion memberships, according to the research, which means in the next four years the number could rise by 33 per cent.

The study, carried out by Juniper Research, says that digital loyalty programmes are “critical” to customer retention within highly competitive markets like grocery and quick service restaurants.

“Digital engagement and personalisation using AI means that traditional loyalty cards are no longer wholly necessary,” said research co-author Nick Maynard. “Traditional loyalty card vendors must pivot towards digital solutions as an urgent priority, or they will lose out.”

The research found that growth in physical loyalty cards is slowing, as loyalty programmes become more digitally focused.

It forecasts that the loyalty cards market will stagnate, with growth in the number of cards in circulation of only five per cent between 2022 and 2026; reaching 7.6 billion in 2026 globally.

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