Request Demo

Runa Study Demonstrates Enduring Popularity of Rewards and Loyalty Points, but Reveals Misalignment between Consumers and Companies 

04 May, 2023, 09:00 ET

In Runa's new study, The State of Loyalty, Rewards and Employee Recognition, gift cards rank highest as the preferred method of reward, with flexibility of redemption the most popular reason for favoring them. 

LONDON, May 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Runa, the digital value infrastructure that enables individuals and businesses to pay and get paid instantly, today published The State of Loyalty, Rewards and Employee Recognition. The study assessed the impact of loyalty rewards and HR recognition programs, along with preferences, trends, and the motivations behind program participation. 

Some 61% of consumers actively collect rewards and loyalty points on a regular basis. Moreover, members of loyalty programs showed a high desire to actively participate in programs from businesses they most frequent, with Supermarkets (69%), Cashback & Rewards apps (46%), and Food and Drink (42%) being the preferred way to receive and spend rewards.

Despite the high level of participation, the study found that brands and consumers don't see eye to eye on what is being offered. 61% of loyalty participants preferred to receive rewards in the form of gift cards, as opposed to the special promotions and discounts retailers commonly offer, which are only favored by 15%. Across all forms of rewards, however, ease of earning and redeeming their rewards and points has become key, with 55% of participants identifying those traits as a priority. 

The study also found that allegiance to loyalty programs has eroded, with 40% willing to switch to another program if it offered better gift card options with more retail brands. Partnering with more local and small businesses for their gift cards also holds growing appeal, with 39% of respondents ready to switch programs that prioritize those.

 "The age of rewards ubiquity is here, and as rewards become more cash-like their acceptance and use will skyrocket," said Aron Alexander, CEO and Founder of Runa. "The global loyalty management industry is expected to surpass $20 billion by the end of the decade as consumers are looking to put every reward to use wherever and however they want. Brands, and loyalty programs, should take note that if their programs do not offer users the flexibility they desire,, they will find other options that do."

Room for improvement is not limited to loyalty programs; the study also looked at employee rewards and recognition programs. Runa's research found that only 30% of employees are satisfied with the type of rewards they receive at work and how they are administered by their company. Similar to the loyalty report findings, 61% of employees selected gift cards as their preferred method of receiving rewards. 

Significantly, 65% of employees feel that rewards are key in their decision to remain with their employer. Employers can not afford to ignore the impact of rewards as a crucial part of their success, and this level of dissatisfaction greatly increases the risk of substantial long-term problems for businesses. 

Other key findings in the study include:

  • Participants crave simplicity when earning or redeeming rewards. 55% mentioned ease of earning rewards as the most important features in a program, with many looking for the ability to earn rewards through daily tasks, such as buying gas. 
  • Nearly half of employee rewards are still physically delivered and not digital, especially in the US, in which 55% receive rewards physically from their manager or HR.
  • Holidays (45%) and performance (39%) are the most common occasions for employers to reward their employees. 

The data for the State of Loyalty Rewards Report was collected in March 2023, from over 900 loyalty program participants in Germany, the UK, and the US. Participants had to be a member of at least one loyalty program to take part in the study.

Data for the State of Employee Rewards & Recognition Report was collected in March 2023 from over 650 full and part-time employees in Germany, the UK, and the US. 

About Runa

Runa is a digital value infrastructure that enables people to pay and get paid by anyone, anywhere, instantly. The Runa network reaches more than 1 billion people and connects merchants, organizations, and individuals for fast, affordable, and data-rich payouts in more than 30 countries and 20 currencies. 

Organizations of all types rely on Runa's infrastructure to power the movement of digital value and better serve their constituents. Runa provides direct connections to its network partners, enabling value to move more efficiently and economically than legacy solutions. Thousands of the world's top brands use Runa to reward, incentivize, and disburse funds.

Runa is headquartered in London with a globally distributed team. Our investors include Element Ventures, CommerzVentures, Clocktower Ventures, Volution Capital, AlbionVC, and SAP. For more information, visit