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SA's most popular loyalty programmes revealed for 2021

Pick n Pay Smart Shopper has finally regained its position as the most used loyalty programme in South Africa, nudging the Clicks ClubCard programme into second place after three consecutive years in the top spot.

Source: Pick n Pay
Source: Pick n Pay

Pick n Pay saw the greatest gains in retail loyalty programme usage versus pre-pandemic stats, showing 80% of South Africans using Pick n Pay’s Smart Shopper programme.

The results are the latest findings of the 2021 Truth & BrandMapp South African Loyalty Whitepaper, a comprehensive annual snapshot of the loyalty habits of over 33,000 South African adults with a gross monthly household income of R10,000 or more. This BrandMapp study represents 100% of the country’s tax-paying base and 80% of all consumer spend.

Pick n Pay’s head of loyalty and strategic partnerships, Melissa Hanley comments: “Historically Smart Shopper has seen a sales participation of approximately 63% and we increased this to 75% during our last fiscal. Smart Shopper had its most successful year ever last year and we believe we achieved this by giving our members what they really needed, when they needed it, through smart prices.”


Whilst Pick n Pay and Clicks have dominated the top two spots in loyalty programme usage for the past five years, Dis-Chem Benefit finds itself in third position once again.

Newcomer into loyalty, Checkers Xtra Savings successfully secures fourth position as a most used loyalty programme, whilst its big sister in grocery retail, Shoprite’s Xtra Savings programme, sits in 11th position.

Consumers rely on loyalty more than even before


Overall, loyalty is up from 2019, taking the total number of respondents using loyalty programmes to 74%. Significantly, the number of loyalty programmes to which South Africans belong has dramatically increased to 8.7 programmes on average.

The whitepaper highlights how the pandemic has flattened the gender curve for loyalty, with males now using loyalty programmes more and at a higher rate than females in South Africa.


FNB leads financial services


FNB eBucks is still leading loyalty in non-retail, and has been the most used loyalty programme in the financial services space for the past six years.

When forced to choose one loyalty programme over all others, FNB eBucks is chosen as the one loyalty programme which South Africans cannot live without. In fact, consumers vote for seven financial services loyalty brands ahead of retail. This highlights how well financial services are integrating loyalty and rewards into their core businesses and the cash equivalent value offered through loyalty and rewards outweighs some traditional retail loyalty offerings

Preferred loyalty benefits


Cashback remains the number one loyalty benefit of choice, followed by discount vouchers. All ages, income and genders vote for cashback. Amanda Cromhout, CEO of Truth and author of the whitepaper states: “Cash has never been more important than right now and throughout the past year in economically challenging times. Cash-strapped South Africans have used their loyalty programme benefits to survive.”


Surprisingly, consumers still prefer to swipe a plastic loyalty card than identify themselves via apps. In a touch-less society, driven by the global pandemic, it comes as a surprise that more South Africans prefer a card than in 2019, at a level of 76%.

“The 2021 loyalty whitepaper findings offer great insights for brands looking to become market leaders in loyalty. In today’s competitive environment, staying close to your customers via a loyalty programme is a must: During the troubled months of the pandemic, it is undoubtedly loyal customers who have helped businesses survive,” concludes Cromhout.

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