Sainsbury’s emerges as leader in card war, claims consumer survey

Sainsbury’s is winning the loyalty card war, according to research among consumers which shows a higher preference and higher penetration for the Sainsbury’s Reward Card than the Tesco Clubcard.

NCH Marketing Services carried out a face-to-face survey with 200 shoppers outside stores midweek and at the weekend, exclusively for Marketing Week.

When shoppers were asked which marketing technique was most likely to influence their purchasing habits, of those who regularly shop at Sainsbury’s, 65.8 per cent said the Sainsbury’s Reward Card and of those who regularly shop at Tesco, 58.8 per cent said the Tesco Clubcard.

The Sainsbury’s Reward Card also achieved higher penetration, with 83 per cent of the sample holding this card compared with 75 per cent holding a Tesco Clubcard.

NCH head of European marketing Andy Wood says he believes this change has only taken place in the past few months.

“Sainsbury’s and Tesco have gone down two different routes with their cards. Tesco is emphasising the customer service benefits of using the card, whereas Sainsbury’s is actually offering more rewards, like UCI Cinema tickets or restaurant vouchers. It seems as if consumers are deciding to go for choice.

“At Sainsbury’s, you can either get 5 off your shopping or two free UCI Cinema tickets for that 5, whereas at Tesco you still only get money off your shopping bill,” says Wood.

Wood says that although it is too early to tell, he believes this change in the loyalty card situation will begin to be reflected in the market share figures.

“I think the next time we see figures for the grocery sector, Sainsbury’s will have clawed back a lot of its market share,” he says.

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