Nectar, owned by Groupe Aeroplan, announced that it now has 16.8 million cardholders in the UK compared with Tesco Clubcard’s 15 million.
But Anamaria Chiuzan, senior marketing manager from The Logic Group, says: “Numbers don’t mean everything. Loyalty programmes need to have a large customer base but if they don’t use it, it’s not effective.”
Chiuzan adds that the numbers shouldn’t be a threat to Tesco as it has been successful in using Clubcard data and this is where Nectar needs to catch up.
Jan Pieter Lipps, Nectar managing director, says: “It’s a “coup for Sainsbury’s to have a bigger offer than Tesco.”
But Stuart Evans, general manger of loyalty firm ICLP, says that even though Sainsbury’s – Nectar’s biggest partner – competes directly with Tesco, “Clubcard and Nectar don’t compete directly”.
He adds that Nectar needs to be big because it is predominantly a points and prizes loyalty scheme, while Tesco is driving insight through the business so “size is less relevant for Clubcard”.
He points out that the challenge for Nectar is to maintain its brand while being part of a coalition against Tesco’s pure brand Clubcard.
Andrew Mitchell, head of loyalty solutions at Arvato Loyalty Services, says: “Clubcard has the power of the Tesco brand whereas Nectar has had to build its brand around partnerships.”