Most Surprising Findings From The Loyalty360 2024 State of Customer Loyalty Report

by Steve Bocska

2024 State of Customer Loyalty: Surprising Findings

The landscape of customer loyalty in 2024 continues to evolve, driven by heightened customer expectations and the rapid advancement of technology. The 2024 State of Customer Loyalty Report released today by Loyalty360 provides a comprehensive examination of current trends, challenges, and opportunities within the realm of customer loyalty. This summary synthesizes the most critical and surprising findings from the research, offering a narrative overview that highlights the key insights and their implications for brands moving forward.

Elevated Customer Expectations

One of the most striking findings from the research is that a significant majority of respondents (52%) believe that customer expectations are higher than ever before. This shift underscores a fundamental challenge for brands: the need to continuously elevate their loyalty programs to meet and exceed these growing expectations. In contrast, 42% of respondents feel that customer expectations have remained at the same level, indicating that while the majority see an upward trend, a substantial portion of the market has not yet felt this pressure. Only 6% of respondents were unsure, suggesting a high level of awareness about the evolving customer landscape.

Core Challenges in Loyalty Programs

Brands face several key challenges in their loyalty efforts, with the limitations of current technology platforms (68%) and technology integrations (67%) being the most prominent. These technological hurdles highlight the critical need for advanced, flexible, and integrated systems that can support sophisticated loyalty strategies. Other significant challenges include internal resource allocation and staffing (54%), organizational buy-in and budget constraints (53%), and competing marketing priorities (51%). These findings suggest that beyond technology, organizational and strategic alignment are essential for effective loyalty programs.

Homogeneity in Loyalty Programs

A surprising 72% of respondents believe that there is a “sea of sameness” in customer loyalty programs, making it difficult for brands to differentiate themselves. This perception of uniformity poses a significant risk, as it can lead to customer disengagement and reduced program effectiveness. Only 19% of respondents feel that their programs are distinct, indicating a need for more innovative and unique approaches to loyalty. The remaining 9% are unsure, highlighting uncertainty within the industry about the distinctiveness of loyalty initiatives.

Driving Customer Growth and Engagement

Loyalty programs are seen as effective tools for driving various business outcomes. Notably, 74% of respondents believe their programs are instrumental in achieving customer growth through increased financial spend. Additionally, 72% see incremental value to customers, and 60% recognize enhanced engagement with members as a direct benefit of their loyalty initiatives. These insights confirm that well-designed loyalty programs can significantly impact key business metrics, including financial performance and customer interaction.

Internal Interest and Understanding

There is a strong internal interest in enhancing loyalty programs, with 79% of respondents expressing a desire to update, enhance, or completely redo their offerings. This enthusiasm reflects a recognition of the strategic importance of loyalty programs. However, understanding how customers are changing remains a challenge, with only 51% of respondents confident in their grasp of these changes. Furthermore, when assessing their understanding of loyalty technologies and platforms, 39% rate themselves as having above-average understanding, while 37% believe they have an average level of knowledge. This indicates a need for ongoing education and training to keep pace with technological advancements.

Emotional Loyalty and Effectiveness

The focus on emotional loyalty is gaining traction, with 26% of organizations placing more emphasis on this aspect compared to the previous year. A majority (53%) maintain the same level of focus, while 8% have reduced their attention on emotional loyalty. This shift highlights a growing recognition of the importance of emotional connections in fostering customer loyalty. In terms of overall effectiveness, 47% of respondents rate their loyalty strategies as effective, though a notable 15% still find them very effective. These ratings suggest that while many programs are performing well, there is room for improvement to achieve higher levels of effectiveness.

Key Enhancements for 2024

Looking ahead, increasing customer engagement (72%) and personalization (52%) are seen as critical priorities for loyalty programs in 2024. The focus on brand-to-brand partnerships (43%) and program redesign (41%) further underscores the need for innovative approaches to maintain and enhance customer loyalty. These priorities reflect an understanding that engagement and personalization are essential for creating meaningful and lasting customer relationships.

Concerns and Data Opportunities

Program fraud and employee gaming are growing concerns for 38% of respondents, highlighting the importance of robust security measures in loyalty programs. Additionally, significant opportunities exist in the realm of customer data. Key areas of focus include collecting the right customer data (40%), having access to various data sets across the organization (25%), and making data actionable (9%). These findings emphasize the critical role of data in driving effective loyalty strategies and the need for comprehensive data management practices.

Adjusting Investments and Team Dynamics

In response to the current economic environment, 40% of brands are increasing their investments in customer loyalty, while 25% are maintaining their current levels. This proactive approach reflects a recognition of the strategic importance of loyalty programs. Team dynamics are also evolving, with 37% of organizations reporting an increase in their customer loyalty team size, compared to 15% that have seen a decrease. These changes suggest that brands are investing in the necessary human resources to support their loyalty initiatives effectively.


The 2024 State of Customer Loyalty highlights the growing importance of meeting elevated customer expectations, overcoming technological and organizational challenges, and differentiating loyalty programs in a crowded market. The findings also underscore the critical role of data, the need for emotional connections, and the importance of ongoing investment in loyalty initiatives.

Brands that can successfully navigate these challenges and leverage the opportunities identified in this report will be well-positioned to build stronger, more engaged, and loyal customer communities in the years ahead. By focusing on advanced engagement strategies, personalized experiences, and robust data management, organizations can create loyalty programs that not only meet but exceed customer expectations, driving sustained business growth and success.