STUDY: Gen Z Over-Estimates Savings from Loyalty Programs

hipster guy with man bun drinking wine
Gen Z thinks they save $59 a month through loyalty programs, which is likely far off from reality.

Incogni surveyed Americans about loyalty programs to see whether their expectations meet reality. The study found that 78% of Gen Z respondents participate in at least one loyalty program. On average, Gen Z expects to save $59 a month through loyalty programs—the highest average estimation compared to Millennials and Gen X.

In reality, one would have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to save that much through loyalty programs. To save $59, one would need to spend $2,360 at H&M, $1,283 at Starbucks, or $296 at McDonald’s, Incogni reports.

A Fair Trade? 

“Many people dive headfirst into loyalty programs, thinking they'll score big savings with zero strings attached. But in reality, the actual savings from loyalty programs most likely don’t live up to members’ expectations. We observed that some companies with loyalty programs may engage in the practice of sharing user data with third parties. Considering that loyalty programs usually require the disclosure of specific data points, such as name, phone number and email address, it may not be a fair trade considering the meager savings,” says Darius Belejevas, Head of Incogni.

Incogni found that 10 of the most popular companies offering loyalty programs collect at least 7 different categories of personal data (the data is collected through various means, not only loyalty programs). 8 out of 10 companies also disclose that they sell user data to third parties. While our study did not include an analysis of data collected through loyalty programs specifically, all loyalty programs require the disclosure of several data points, such as name or email address.

Cybercriminals rely on data to commit fraud, making companies that hold large data sets big targets for hackers. In 2022, there were 23.5 million leaked accounts and 1 million cases of identity theft in the US alone. So the more companies that collect your personal information and the more third parties they share that data with, the greater your cybersecurity risks.

Methodology: On May 8, Incogni surveyed 1,000 Americans on their interactions with loyalty programs. Incogni also checked the privacy policies of 10 popular companies offering loyalty programs to find out the data collection practices of these companies (although the privacy policies were not exclusively applicable to loyalty programs). Finally, Incogni analyzed the loyalty program pages of 3 of these companies, found their predicted savings percentages and calculated the amount of money that members can save after spending $100 through them.

For more information on Incogni’s study, please visit:


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