Coles reports FlyBuys growth as consumers look to cut grocery bills

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 25th June 2009

The global financial crisis has not only impacted grocery purchasing behaviour but also the adoption of loyalty cards, usage rates of Australia’s largest loyalty card scheme suggest.

General Manager of Coles’ FlyBuys program, Phil Hawkins, said the number of redemptions for credit card repayments and shopping gift vouchers had hit an all-time high of 82 per cent in the five-month period from January to May, 2009 as consumers sought to reduce the size of their bills. This compares to 77 per cent for the first five months of 2008.

“In tough times members become shrewder about using points to pay for everyday living expenses like grocery bills and credit cards, rather than redeeming their points for perceived luxuries,” Mr Hawkins said. “That’s exactly what we’re seeing at the moment.”

Launched in 1994, FlyBuys is Australia’s biggest shopping rewards program with more than eight million cardholders and the ranks are continuing to increase, he advised.

Mr Hawkins added that Coles’ recent Giant Gift Card Giveaway had also prompted a flurry of new FlyBuys members keen to earn extra Coles’ gift vouchers and cash prizes, with more than 78,000 members signing up since the promotion was announced in May.

“At a time when every dollar counts, more Australians are seeing the benefits of being members of loyalty programs,” he said.

Coles is currently reviewing their loyalty program and, given the success of immediate rewards such as gift vouchers to spend in-store, it is becoming increasingly likely that changes will be