Card-Linked Discounts May Win Over Inflation-Concerned Consumers 

man online shopping

As PYMNTS reported this week, while most U.S. consumers appear untroubled by the prospect of near-term inflation, their anxiety levels rise at the prospect of long-term inflation. 

It’s unclear how those forward-looking concerns might impact immediate consumer spending habits, but proactive merchants may want to look at recent purchasing patterns to gain insights into steps they can take to win over inflation-conscious consumers. 

Recent data shows that — although rising prices were top of mind for most shoppers — card-linked discounts and rewards were an effective way to offset spending anxiety. 

According to “Leveraging Item-Level Receipt Data: How Personalized Card-Linked Offers Drive Store Card Usage,” card-linked kickbacks inspired an array of consumers — including more than three-quarters of parents and Generation Z consumers and nearly two-thirds of top earners — to spend despite their financial worries. 

The report, which PYMNTS Intelligence created in collaboration with Banyan, reflected the opinions of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers who were asked about their interest in loyalty reward programs and card-linked offers — and how merchants could best leverage those perks.

Among the findings revealed in the report was the fact that nearly 27% of card-linked-offer users said features such as discounts and free shipping influenced them to buy more items than they originally planned.

Similarly, 24% of users said the card-linked offers they received led them to buy gift ideas that were not originally included on their shopping lists, while 21% said the offers inspired them to buy more items for themselves than they intended.

Seventy-seven percent of cardholders with children said they took advantage of card-linked offers for at least some of their end-of-year purchases, but, significantly, 68% of those parents said they were highly satisfied with the savings they received.

Customer satisfaction is paramount to merchant success, but so is relevancy.

Just 44% of card-linked offer users found the perks they received to be highly relevant to their needs, while 57% of consumers with children said card-linked offers were relevant, suggesting merchants may want to consider customizing rewards with children in mind. Fifty-six percent of millennials also said the card-related perks were on point.

Meanwhile, nearly three-fourths of respondents who received all or most of their card-linked perks through third parties — such as a banking app or a cash back shopping rewards platform — said those rewards were highly relevant, proving that money talks. 

And while the study found a high percentage of card-linked offers were simply not relevant to the shoppers that received them, the report also found that when offers were deemed highly relevant, consumers were far more likely to involve their friends or family. 

More than three in four card-linked offer users shared some portion of the offers they received with friends and family. The likelihood of sharing an offer is notably higher if the offer is highly relevant to the cardholder: 81% of card-linked offer recipients who ended up giving most or all of the offers to friends and family classified the offers as highly relevant.

If merchants hope to win over inflation-skittish consumers in the months to come, card-related perks might be an effective way to do it — as long as the perks resonate with shoppers, their friends and their families.