Nearly 60 percent of global respondents said that loyalty programs were available where they shopped, and of those, 84 percent said they were more likely to visit those retailers, according to a new study by Nielsen. Although the survey focused specifically on the retail industry, the results could also translate some to the restaurant industry.

"While the concept of loyalty is nothing new, we are seeing a significant surge in retailers — and particularly those in developing economies — investing in loyalty programs that give them valuable insight into how to better meet customer needs," said Julie Currie, senior vice president, Global Loyalty, Nielsen. "Savvy retailers are mining the data and looking for new and innovative ways to achieve the benefits most important to their customers."

The Nielsen Global Survey of Loyalty Sentiment polled more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries to evaluate consumer views on loyalty levels across 16 categories including fast-moving consumer goods, technology products and retail establishments.

Three-quarters (75 percent) of global respondents said that discounted or free products was the most valuable loyalty program benefit. Enhanced customer service and free shipping incentives were important to 44 percent and 42 percent of global respondents, respectively.

Read more about trends and statistics.

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