When they pulled out their wallets to pay for purchases this year, many holiday shoppers chose the credit card that would earn them the most points, miles, or cash back this year.
Use of credit card rewards sites on Thanksgiving weekend, which kicked off the holiday shopping season, was up 88% over last year, according to Cartera Commerce.
Card-linked offers from popular credit card rewards programs got enough clicks to result in four times the growth of overall e-commerce during that weekend. According to Cartera CEO Tom Beecher, that means consumers were more likely to find deals through rewards sites than through Google.
Shift in loyalty
Because of this shift in shopping habits, “we’re seeing merchants shift their loyalty and marketing initiatives to capture sales through rewards programs that shoppers already prefer,” says Beecher. “This year’s enormous growth in engagement and activity suggests that consumers and retailers are learning how to make the most of card-linked offers, and we expect this momentum to continue in 2013 and beyond.”
Compared to previous years’ sales data for Thanksgiving weekend, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, data showed that:
- Total sales generated from credit card rewards sites were up 88%, more than four times the amount of overall e-commerce sales growth of 21% reported by comScore
- Total online transactions jumped by 72%
- “Click-to-sale” conversions were up almost 35%
- Consumers who were in the top 10% of rewards-earners spent more than $1,000 in online purchases over Thanksgiving weekend
Maximizing cash back
While many cards offer cash back, points, and miles for every purchase, consumers can increase their rewards balance even faster by shopping through their credit card’s online rewards mall. For example, Citi Dividend cardholders get 5% bonus cash back in rotating categories. From January through March 2013, those categories are Zappos, fitness clubs and drugstores. But they can always get 5% back when they make purchases through the Citi Bonus Cash Center. Cash back from the Citi Bonus Cash Center will not count toward their maximum reward amount, allowing them to get even more rewards.