In a world in which consumers have more choice than ever, a large percentage are surprisingly brand loyal.

That’s according to Yotpo’s 2019 Brand Loyalty study, which found that nearly 90% of consumers say they are brand loyal, an amount that is basically unchanged from 2018. What’s more, nearly 25% reported that they’re more brand loyal this year than they were last year.

The vast majority of consumers polled (61%) indicated they’re loyal to between one and five brands, but slightly more than a quarter professed loyalty to between six and 10 brands. Thirty six percent of consumers consider themselves loyal to a brand after five or more purchases, while a third call themselves brand loyal after just three.

What inspires brand loyalty?

Overwhelmingly, the answer is product, with more than three-quarters of consumers (77%) indicating product was the source of their loyalty. Price was also a major factor for nearly 63% of those surveyed. Surprisingly, customer service and the existence of a loyalty program were far smaller factors, with 26% and 22% citing these factors, respectively.

Key takeaways

That product and price are major factors in driving loyalty isn’t surprising. The fact that nearly nine in ten consumers consider themselves brand loyal in an age of seemingly countless brands and comparison shopping is a bit more surprising, as it goes against a common narrative that brand loyalty isn’t what it once was.

Also surprising is the fact that so many of the consumers Yotpo polled were not swayed by the quality of customer service or availability of a loyalty program. The latter doesn’t necessarily mean that loyalty programs aren’t worth the investment many brands are making in them, however.

That’s because almost 60% of consumers will join a loyalty program when they consider themselves loyal to a brand, and that can help brands achieve marketing objectives that consumers generally resist. For example, less than a fifth of consumers are willing to sign up for email newsletters, take surveys or participate in contests.

These are common tools brands use to get closer to their customers and, among other things, collect data.

Yotpo’s data suggests that if brands can deliver a good product at an acceptable price, they can put themselves in a position to create brand loyalty and convert brand loyal customers into loyalty program members. This will enable them to achieve marketing objectives that are otherwise difficult to achieve without brand loyalty.

What’s more, loyalty programs can make attractive things that consumers typically shun outside of a loyalty program context. For example, just 5% of consumers will attend special events, but loyalty program members highly value experiential rewards and brands in a wide range of industries, including Nike, Sephora and Chick-Fil-A, have successfully used event invites as benefits extended to loyalty program members.

Understanding Customer Lifetime Value – report