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Jared Hamilton
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Mike Gorun

Mike Gorun Managing Partner/CEO

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How Gen Y Will Reshape Customer Loyalty


Representing more than 1.7 billion consumers worldwide, of which 77 million are in the US, the so-called ‘Millennial’ generation (aka. ‘Generation Y’) is presenting marketers with some new challenges and changes as it comes of age and takes the reins of the global consumer economy, according to a study by Aimia (formerly Groupe Aeroplan).

To compare the attitudes and behaviors of Millennials (born between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s) with older consumers, Aimia commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct an online study of more than 6,000 consumers in Canada, the UK and the US. The study – recently released in the United States as “Born This Way: The US Millennial Loyalty Survey” – concluded that Millennial consumers will certainly change the way companies and brands build sustainable customer loyalty.

Generation Y is bigger than the Baby Boomer generation, and is three times the size of Generation X. With Baby Boomers retiring, it’s critically important for marketers to understand how Millennial attitudes toward technology, data privacy and rewards will change the way brands build strong, profitable relationships with their best customers.”

Among the high-level findings are these important insights:

Loyalty Behaviors

Over three-quarters (77%) of Generation Y 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.

Mobile Technology

Generation Y is 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 are more likely to share personal details with a brand that offers loyalty and reward incentives.

This blog is condensed from Driving Retention and the Aimia report on Millennial Loyalty, “Born This Way: The US Millennial Loyalty Survey.” 

Bryan Armstrong
Loyalty appreciation programs go far further than the empty "Thank you" form letter or perfunctory phone call reminding your customer about filling out the survey. Recognizing your loyalists and awarding a few perks will become the norm, especially with the proliferation of location based marketing apps.
Rosa Luciano
great article.. Gen- Y. We're pretty awesome! :)
Mike Gorun
Thanks for your comments! And Meghan, thanks for reminding us that these changes encourage us to become better connected and more involved in the lives of our customers, building B2C relationships like we never have before. This "new shape" of customer loyalty is most definitely an opportunity - not an obstacle.

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