97 Million Cardholders Used Card-Linked Offers in Year-End Shopping Spree

Because many consumers may still be smarting from last month’s 3.2% bump in inflation, they appear to be reluctant to shop for retail items.

What can merchants do to woo hesitant shoppers back into their stores and web domains?

One answer might lie in data reflecting buying patterns from the most recent holiday shopping season. The fourth quarter of 2023 was also a time when consumers voiced concerns about rising prices, yet overall retail sales for the period were strong.

One driver behind the successful season was the fact that both merchants and card issuers used item-level shopping data to provide their customers with customized, card-linked offers.

According to PYMNTS Intelligence’s “Leveraging Item-Level Receipt Data: How Card-Linked Offers Helped Drive Year-End Spend,” more than 97 million cardholders took advantage of card-linked offers in late 2023. Additionally, most card-linked offer users said they were satisfied with the level of savings they realized as a result.

The report, which was based on surveys of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers, revealed that the appeal of these offers stretched across a variety of consumer segments. Seventy-seven percent of parents said they used card-linked offers for at least a few of their holiday purchases. So did 79% of Generation Z cardholders and 63% of top earners.

More than half of the offers that users received, however, turned out to be irrelevant to their holiday shopping needs. On the other hand, when users received highly relevant offers, they responded by encouraging friends or family to put the rewards to work.

Share of consumers citing where they shopped for products or services

The appeal of card-linked offers doesn’t stop with encouraging spending, as such offers can also inspire customer loyalty. According to exclusive proprietary data not included in PYMNTS Intelligence’s original report, during the latter months of last year, most consumers showed a preference to shop with those brands and merchants where they were enrolled in loyalty and rewards programs.

In December alone, 55% of consumers spent money with merchants where they were enrolled in loyalty and rewards programs. That percentage climbed to 65% during the final months of last summer, suggesting loyalty and rewards programs may offer even greater appeal for back-to-school bargain hunters.