The UK’s Over-55s Dismiss Loyalty Apps

The majority of Britain's biggest spenders prefer physical loyalty cards over their digital counterparts.

Loyalty schemes are a prominent feature within the retail landscape, with many consumers’ wallets bulging with cards for their favourite supermarkets, fashion outlets and pharmacies.

For the use of their card they get rewarded with targeted offers and the opportunity to collect points for larger discounts, and in return the company gets invaluable insight into their customers to be able to provide a better and more personalised service.

With a global move to mobile commerce, how does the loyalty card fare in a digital landscape?

Plastic Card Services (PCS) has done research into the field. And while it’s fair to say that as a manufacturer of plastic cards they are biased in their own preference, some of the stats will be beneficial for retailers nonetheless.

Most prominently, their survey found that a majority of 80 per cent of Britain’s biggest spenders – that is, consumers aged over 55 – prefer a plastic card over a loyalty app. This is despite the fact that 91 per cent of consumers in that age group own a smartphone or other mobile device.

Rob Nicolls, Managing Director at PCS, explained the reasoning behind this staggering number dismissing loyalty apps:

"The idea that our older consumers are not embracing technology because they don’t have access to it is a misconception. 93 per cent of UK adults own a mobile phone, but the reasons they’re failing to embrace loyalty apps are vast, such as the growing fear of fraud that comes with taking things online or simply ease of use that comes with cards."

On average the over-55s were found to use their loyalty cards twice a week, with 81 per cent using their supermarket loyalty cards most frequently. With price wars still growing and supermarket brand loyalty thought to be at an all-time low, this could be good news for those getting loyalty schemes right.

Over a quarter of respondents claimed owning a loyalty card makes them more loyal to a brand, while over half had kept a loyalty card for over 10 years.

An identical survey of 18-25 year olds found that the younger generation is only fractionally more open to a move to digital, with just a quarter of respondents saying that they were interested in the mobile app for a loyalty scheme.