How good value are credit card point services? graph of japanese statisticsOne way of making Japan a cheaper country to live it is to make sure you participate in as many point cards and other loyalty schemes as possible, as many shops and restaurants offer some degree of discounts (often from 3% to 10% or more) if you sign up to their schemes. Of course, one drawback is that you end up with a bulging wallet and time-consuming scrambles looking for the correct card. Recently, Macromill Inc reported on a survey they conducted on this topic, point cards.

Demographics

Over the 13th and 14th of July 2007 516 members of the Macromill Monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. The sample was split exactly 50:50 male and female in each age group, and similarly there were 25.0% in their twenties, 25.0% in their thirties, 25.0% in their forties and 25.0% in their fifties.

Note that in this survey questions Q1 and Q2, point cards include stamp cards, airline mileage cards, and other loyalty point-based systems, but exclude credit card points, which are investingated in Qs 5 to 7. However, some of the newer combined credit card and railway pass cards have schemes where you get bonus points for spending money in the railway line’s department store or other group companies, so I don’t know whether these point schemes are counted or not.

With some of the big electrical chains who have point systems offering from 10% to 20% depending on purchases, it can be definitely argued that their prices are artificially higher to fund this system, and with comparison shopping it is possible to save more money. However, in Osaka the choice for me is bascially either the huge Yodobashi Camera right beside the main station or perhaps saving 5% to 10% if I head down to Den-Den Town, taking 10 minutes in the subway then 15 minutes by foot, fighting my way through the crowds, then hoping the store still has the product in stock, takes credit cards, doesn’t have a prohibitive delivery cost, etc.

Research results

Q1: For which of the following types of business do you have a point card or stamp card? (Sample size=516, multiple answer)

  All Male
N=258
Female
N=258
Home electrical store 73.4% 75.2% 71.7%
Drug store 58.9% 40.3% 77.5%
Supermarket 54.1% 36.0% 72.1%
CD, DVD store (including rental) 44.0% 43.4% 44.6%
Restaurant 32.6% 23.3% 41.9%
Hair salon, beauty parlour 32.4% 16.3% 48.4%
Department store 31.6% 19.8% 43.4%
Bread, cake shop 29.1% 9.3% 48.8%
Petrol station (gas stand) 28.1% 30.6% 25.6%
Clothes shop, accessories 27.5% 14.0% 41.1%
Airline 27.3% 31.4% 23.3%
Convenience store 19.6% 20.9% 18.2%
Furniture, interior shop 17.6% 5.8% 29.5%
Shopping street, shopping mall 17.2% 10.1% 24.4%
Book shop 16.1% 14.3% 17.8%
Massage parlour 5.6% 3.5% 7.8%
Esthetic, spa 4.5% 1.2% 7.8%
Other point card 5.8% 6.2% 5.4%
Don’t carry any (to Q2) 2.7% 3.1% 2.3%

The next table is sorted by the sum of the first two columns.

Q1SQ1: How do you use your cards for each type of business? (Sample size=those carrying each type of card, multiple answer)

  Only shop at that store Save points, but also shop elsewhere Don’t worry about collecting points
Home electrical store 48.5% 43.0% 8.4%
Drug store 47.4% 42.8% 9.9%
Supermarket 29.0% 61.6% 9.3%
Petrol station (gas stand) 66.2% 22.1% 11.7%
Convenience store 38.6% 43.6% 17.8%
Department store 40.5% 41.1% 18.4%
CD, DVD store (including rental) 55.1% 26.0% 18.9%
Book shop 41.0% 38.6% 20.5%
Massage parlour 48.3% 27.6% 24.1%
Shopping street, shopping mall 24.7% 50.6% 24.7%
Airline 42.6% 31.2% 26.2%
Bread, cake shop 23.3% 50.0% 26.7%
Hair salon, beauty parlour 56.3% 16.8% 26.9%
Furniture, interior shop 24.2% 42.9% 33.0%
Esthetic, spa 47.8% 17.4% 34.8%
Clothes shop, accessories 21.8% 43.0% 35.2%
Restaurant 17.3% 46.4% 36.3%
Other point card 40.0% 50.0% 10.0%

Q1SQ2: How do you feel about your point cards for each type of business? (Sample size=those carrying each type of card, multiple answer)

  Very good value Quite good value Can’t say either way Not very good value Not good value at all
Home electrical store 27.7% 57.3% 11.9% 2.4% 0.8%
Supermarket 21.5% 62.4% 12.9% 2.5% 0.7%
Petrol station (gas stand) 21.4% 57.9% 15.2% 4.1% 1.4%
Drug store 17.4% 61.8% 15.1% 3.9% 1.6%
Department store 18.4% 54.0% 20.2% 4.9% 2.5%
Convenience store 15.8% 52.5% 28.7% 3.0% 0.0%
Book shop 9.6% 57.8% 24.1% 7,2% 1.2%
Bread, cake shop 10.7% 56.0% 25.3% 6.0% 2.0%
Hair salon, beauty parlour 15.6% 50.9% 25.1% 7.2% 1.2%
Esthetic, spa 26.1% 39.1% 30.4% 0.0% 4.3%
Airline 19.9% 44.7% 29.1% 4.3% 2.1%
Restaurant 8.3% 54.8% 27.4% 6.0% 3.6%
Massage parlour 17.2% 44.8% 37.9% 0.0% 0.0%
CD, DVD store (including rental) 11.9% 49.8% 31.3% 4.8% 2.2%
Shopping street, shopping mall 4.5% 55.1% 33.7% 6.7% 0.0%
Clothes shop, accessories 11.3% 41.5% 38.0% 7.7% 1.4%
Furniture, interior shop 3.3% 48.4% 35.2% 12.1% 1.1%
Other point card 20.0% 70.0% 6.7% 3.3%

Q2: To what degree do you agree with the following statements regarding point services? (Sample size=516, multiple answer)

  Agree Agree to some extent Neither agree nor disagree Disagree to some extent Disagree
Don’t want to increase the number of point cards I have 31.6% 30.8% 30.6% 5.0% 1.9%
It’s troublesome carrying all my point cards 35.9% 27.9% 17.4% 10.7% 8.1%
I only use point cards for shops where I feel they are good value 26.7% 50.2% 16.7% 4.7% 1.7%
I only use point cards for shops I often visit 33.3% 47.7% 14.1% 3.7% 1.2%
I feel discounts are more attractive than points 28.5% 35.3% 34.1% 1.4% 0.8%
I feel point cards with no expiry date are attractive 56.8% 31.4% 10.9% 0.8% 0.2%

From the original sample, 487 people, or 94.4%, carried mobile phones. They were asked the following questions.

Q3: How do you feel about point services for mobile phone users? (Sample size=487)

  All
N=487
Male
N=246
Female
N=241
Having saved points makes it harder to change provider 22.6% 22.0% 23.2%
I’m aware of saving points, but it wouldn’t affect decisions on changing provider 29.8% 28.9% 30.7%
Not really aware of saving points 47.6% 49.2% 46.1%

Although the male and female percentages were roughly equal, with men there was a very definite trend as age increased the interest in mobile phone point schemes decreased. No such trend was present in the female group.

Q4: How good value do you feel mobile phone point services are? (Sample size=487)

  All
N=487
Male
N=246
Female
N=241
Very good value 10.7% 6.1% 15.4%
Quite good value 49.5% 54.1% 44.8%
Can’t say either way 32.2% 30.5% 34.0%
Not very good value 5.1% 5.3% 5.0%
Not good value at all 2.5% 4.1% 0.8%

From the original sample, 424 people, or 82.2%, carried mobile phones. They were asked the following questions.

Q5: How do you use your credit cards in relation to point services? (Sample size=424)

  All
N=424
Male
N=218
Female
N=206
In order to collect points, I try to use just one card 56.6% 55.5% 57.8%
I use various credit cards and collect points on all 22.6% 22.9% 23.3%
Not really (not at all) aware of points 20.8% 21.6% 19.9%

Q6: How good value do you feel credit card point services are? (Sample size=424)

  All
N=424
Male
N=218
Female
N=206
Very good value 12.7% 11.5% 14.1%
Quite good value 56.8% 57.8% 55.8%
Can’t say either way 22.9% 23.4% 22.3%
Not very good value 4.0% 3.2% 4.9%
Not good value at all 3.5% 4.1% 2.9%

Q7: When do you use your credit cards? (Sample size=424, multiple answer)

  All
N=424
Male
N=218
Female
N=206
When internet, mail order shopping 61.6% 61.9% 61.2%
When buying high-priced items 57.5% 50.0% 65.5%
When I only have a little money on me 52.6% 48.2% 57.3%
When I want to earn points 50.0% 44.5% 55.8%
When there is special offers for card members 39.9% 33.5% 46.6%
When on holiday 36.1% 35.8% 36.4%
Use whenever possible 25.0% 29.8% 19.9%
When there are bonus points 23.8% 17.9% 30.1%
Other 3.1% 2.3% 3.9%

1 Comment

The Current State of Skepticism (Critical Thinking) in Japanese Society, Part One « A Different Shoji · February 6, 2010 at 22:07

[…] yen to the people with 定額給付金 (a government cash handout), and by using the ubiquitouspoint card concept as an incentive to buy eco-friendly products through エコポイント (the Eco Point system), […]

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