Rewards programmes become more homely

Johannesburg- Two years ago, a homebody was someone that preferred the calm of their house to the human roller coaster of social interactions outside it.

Thanks to the pandemic, homebodies have become an entire economy and they’re reshaping how rewards programmes work.

What is the homebody economy?

Thanks to various lockdown measures, people’s houses have become the focal point of their lives and their spending habits reflect this.

Grocery purchases through online portals and apps have doubled from 2019 to 2021.

This along with the increase in the use of online deliveries from restaurants has increased the demand for discount benefits for food.

Before the pandemic, many rewards programmes were geared towards helping you save money on travel, entertainment and health activities outside the home. Now, rewards have had to align with people’s “homebody” orientation.

Lockdown trends

Trends from Sanlam Reality during the Covid-19 period reveal:

  • High take-up of the new free Showmax movie-streaming benefit.
  • The moderate use of the free online education benefit allows members and their children to access the CAPS curriculum, with 90% of Sanlam customers saying they will continue to use online education tools.
  • Cyclical engagement with car rental benefits in line with Covid-19 waves. Tempest car rentals peaked at 90% of pre-pandemic levels by early December 2020, before dropping to 40% by February.

Your money is the real reward

The real reason many South Africans join rewards programmes is to help their money stretch a little further.

People seem to be valuing rewards programmes more, with the percentage of customers who use rewards programmes increasing from 72% pre-Covid-19 to 74% in 2021.

Currently, South Africans spend around two-thirds of their take-home salaries on debt but are trying to save more.

The Reserve Bank reports that the number of South Africans saving money has risen by 3.9% since last year.

This suggests that South Africans are struggling against the twin pressures of planning for the future and managing today’s problems.

The pandemic has changed the rewards landscape but in a good way.

Though traditional loyalty benefits were unavailable or not safe to use during deep lockdown periods, many members reverted to alternative loyalty benefits like cash backs and discount vouchers to help them through difficult times.

  • Nicolay is head of product development at Sanlam Rewards Centre of Excellence

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Sunday World

Nathea Nicolay

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