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Southeast Asian Consumers Enticed By Retail Loyalty Programs: Nielsen

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Mobile phone brands, mobile service providers and financial institutions feature highest in consumers’ loyalty set; alcoholic beverages garner lowest loyalty levels.

Price and quality the most likely attributes to encourage switching of brands, services or retailers.

SINGAPORE, 12 NOVEMBER 2013 – The majority of consumers in Southeast Asia said that loyalty programs (marketing programs that reward members with purchase incentives) were available in retail stores where they shopped and that they were more likely to visit retailers that offered loyalty programs, according to a new study by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Loyalty Sentiment polled more than 29,000 Internet[i] respondents in 58 countries to evaluate consumer views on loyalty levels across 16 categories including fast-moving consumer goods, technology products and retail establishments. The Nielsen survey covered six Southeast Asia markets including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Within Southeast Asia, loyalty programs were most prevalent in Thailand and Vietnam, where 69 percent of respondents indicated loyalty programs were available in stores where they shopped, followed by Malaysia (62%), Philippines and Singapore (61%) and Indonesia (48%). Vietnam and Thailand consumers were also the most likely in Southeast Asia to be enticed by loyalty programs, with 94 percent and 92 percent respectively indicating they were more likely to shop at a retailer that offers a loyalty program, followed by Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore (91%) and Indonesia (86%). Globally 59 percent of consumers said retailer loyalty programs were available at the stores where they shopped and 84 percent said they were more likely to shop at a retailer that offers a loyalty program.

“Retail loyalty programs have grown significantly in Southeast Asia in recent years, both in terms of availability and popularity, and these programs are now playing a strong role in influencing consumers’ choice of store, with consumers in Southeast Asia more likely than most other regions globally to be enticed by loyalty program offerings,” notes Pete Gale, Managing Director of Retailer Services in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Greater China. “For retailers, loyalty programs provide powerful insights that enable them to tailor their offers to individual customer needs, thereby increasing the frequency of visits to their stores as well as the amount spent.”

Loyalty program benefits

The offer of discounted or free products was viewed by consumers as the most valuable loyalty program benefit across all six Southeast Asia markets surveyed. Enhanced customer service was ranked as the second most valuable program benefit in all markets except Singapore and Vietnam where exclusive deals ranked second. (See Chart 1).

“As loyalty programs continue to grow in numbers across Southeast Asia, loyalty program providers are becoming increasingly savvy on how to tap into the insights that their programs provide,” observed Gale. “In the coming years we can expect to see the sophistication of loyalty programs across the region improve as marketers develop new and innovative ways to identify and deliver the program benefits that are of most importance to their customers.”

Loyalty sentiment highest for mobile phones; lowest for alcoholic beverages

Of the 16 categories covered in Nielsen’s survey, Southeast Asian respondents showed the highest level of loyalty to mobile phone brands and mobile service providers, while financial institutions also secured high levels of loyalty. Conversely, alcoholic beverages was ranked by consumers in the region as the category to which they attributed the lowest level of loyalty, along with online retailers. (See Chart 2).

“Southeast Asia has some of the highest levels of mobile penetration in the world, and this latest Nielsen study shows that loyalty within the category is especially strong,” said Gale. “While for mobile handset manufacturers and service providers this highlights clear opportunities to gain and keep the trust of customers, it also signifies the importance of developing and nurturing long-term customer relationships.”

Incentives to switch brands, services and retailers

According to Nielsen’s survey, price and quality are the two key attributes offered by brands, service providers and retailers which would encourage them to switch. Vietnam saw the only exception to this trend, where price and service agreement ranked as the top two attributes which would encourage switching. Demand for quality was highest in Philippines (51% would switch brand/service/retailer for better quality). Singaporean and Vietnamese consumers showed the highest price sensitivity, with 52 percent of consumers in both markets indicating they would switch to an alternative brand/service/ retailer if it offered a better price. (See Chart 3).

“Interestingly, quality trumps price in the eyes of consumers in both Indonesia and Philippines, and in four of the six Southeast Asia markets surveyed the importance placed in quality was higher than the global average,” said Gale. “This finding highlights the changing focus of consumers in the region as their incomes increase and their purchase drivers shift away from price alone.”

[i] While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.

About the Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Loyalty Sentiment was conducted between February 18 and March 8, 2013, and polled more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit


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