The APAC loyalty management market was valued at USD 945.9 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 3642.77 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 25.1%, during the period of 2021-2026. Loyalty management solutions are being adopted by many companies across various industry verticals, whose primary focus is on client retention and further building sustainable customer relationships through these programs.
- Increasing customer retention also boosts profit margins and also bring a stable source of income. While implementing a loyalty program is an investment, customer retention strategies are less expensive when compared to attracting new customers. Adding new customers can be 25% more expensive compared to retaining current customers. Thus, having a loyalty program could lead to the biggest revenue generator for a company and lower the user acquisition costs.
- The growing social media usage, increasing internet penetration, and expanding the e-commerce industry are some of the major factors driving the adoption of loyalty programs in Southeast Asia. Vietnam and Thailand are the major driving nations followed by Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Indonesia.
- According to a recent industry survey, in Southeast Asia, about 86% to 92% of respondents were more enticed to shop where a loyalty program is part of the deal. Retail loyalty programs have also been growing significantly in the region in recent years and are playing a substantial role in influencing consumers' choices. For instance, Carrefour China launched a 100% digital loyalty program in 2019. The company has entered into agreements with Tencent, WeChat, and Google for making headway in its digital transformation.
- However, lack of awareness is a major challenge to the growth of the APAC loyalty management market. Research indicates that only a small portion of customers are aware of the loyalty benefits provided by an organization. Lack of awareness could be a major challenge restricting widespread adoption of loyalty management solutions in the market.
Key Market Trends
BFSI Segment is Expected to Witness the Highest Growth
- In a highly competitive, complex, and dynamic banking industry, slight differences in financial services and products can matter. Most of the banks are trying to be the "ideal" bank for their customers in exchange for trusted and profitable relationships. This, together with an increasingly-demanding customer base, has led to the transformation of the industry toward adopting loyalty management solutions.
- The APAC region is experiencing high growth rates in card transactions, particularly in countries, such as India, China, and Japan. The growth in card transactions is fueled by lifestyle shopping, due to the rising middle-class incomes, presenting significant growth potential for loyalty programs.
- Bound with stricter competition and users who do not hesitate to switch banks if their existing ones are proved to be less than accommodating, banks are developing loyalty programs with complete personalization.
- ICBC Singapore launched the first CNY/SGD credit card and the first USD/SGD credit card, in Singapore, with fee waivers to woo dual-currency credit cardholders. Credit cardholders receive administrative fee waivers of up to 2.5% for purchases made in CNY currency within Mainland China or for all purchases both on- and off-line made in USD currency.
- Credit cards offer various reward points plans are one of the major drivers for incentive and reward market. The increasing use of loyalty management in the banking sector is allowing banks to attain high customer retention rates. Research indicates more than 35% of the consumers believe that reward points/cash back incentives, among others, are the significant factors that play a vital role in influencing consumer preference, while choosing among the banks, for credit cards.
- The market is also witnessing collaborations in cross-industry loyalty program launches with financial sector witnessing increased acceptance of loyalty programs. For instance, OCBC Bank and Star Hub are jointly developing Singapore's loyalty alliance, so that Singaporean customers will be able to exchange, consolidate, and redeem loyalty rewards, such as reward points and air miles earned from market-leading partners across industries.
China Occupies the Largest Market Share
- Retail loyalty programs are well established in China, dating back to the mid-to-late 1990s. Although the participation is lower in China (61% of consumers), due to collectivist consumer behavior, the Chinese retailers are now focusing more on loyalty programs.
- One of the major reasons for this change is the exponential growth in the E-commerce sector of the country. The country's B2B e-commerce market's revenue, in 2018, was valued at CNY 60 billion (as per a Zhejiang Wangjingshe Information Technology Company report). The country registers an average spending of USD 1,505 per e-shopper. With such high average spending in the region, retaining a loyal customer is of high value for any retailer in the country.
- Moreover, e-commerce player are collaborating with technology providers in order to gain market share by providing better loyalty programs. For instance, JD.com partnered with Walmart and Tencent Holdings to share customer data and operational systems, in a move to gain ground on Alibaba. Walmart and JD.com integrated their customer loyalty systems for stores in China (where Walmart has 400 stores). Therefore, the increased average spending by consumers has resulted in increased loyalty programs offered by the retailers.
- Moreover, China has a highly-integrated digital ecosystem, where most of the loyalty management is functional and has led to a rise in digital commerce and mobile payments. In support to this, in March 2018, the Chinese government announced it would open its USD 25.2 trillion economy to let foreign companies operate mobile payment systems in China which is expected to shape Chinese commerce which could allow US-based companies access to the economy.
- The financial and retail sector solutions majorly demand loyalty schemes in China. Hong Kong accounts for majority loyalty programs in the airline sector, in the entire Asia-Pacific region. According to a survey by Mastercard, Hong Kong had 20% of respondents stating airline as their major loyalty/ rewards program in 2017-2018. In 2019, Air China had the highest number of members in its loyalty program, 51 million members.
The Asia-Pacific loyalty management market is highly competitive owing to the presence of many large and small players in the market. Some of the major players in the market are Aimia Inc., Edenred SA, Comarch SA, Epsilon Data Management LLC, and Maritz Holdings Inc. The market appears to be moderately concentrated with the players in the market adopting strategies like product innovation, partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions to stay ahead of the competition.
- April 2020 - Aimia Inc. and Kognitiv Corporation have entered into an agreement to merge Aimia's Loyalty Solutions business with Kognitiv Corporation. The merger creates a new and transformative technology and loyalty solutions company that redefines how loyalty programs, merchants, and consumer brands interact to enrich member engagement, enhance consumer loyalty and deliver stronger yields to the businesses it serves.
- April 2020 - Comarch has acquired 100% of shares in the French company CABINET CONSEIL EN STRATEGIE INFORMATIQUE S.A.S. ( 2CSI), which specializes in providing IT solutions and services to medical entities on the French market. As part of the agreement, Comarch also acquires all copyrights to the company's products. The total transaction value was PLN 9.5 million.
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