Target ranked No. 1 in the discount retailer category on Brand Keys’ “2019 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index.”

The “2019 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI)” finds that shoppers are loyal to Target, Walmart, Home Depot and T.J. Maxx, among others, when it comes to retail.

For Brand Keys’ 2019 CLEI survey, 51,673 consumers, 16 to 65 years of age from the nine US Census Regions were polled. The company’s research also finds that consumer expectations increase annually on average 25%.

“Trust has become the connective tissue between brands and loyalty,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys. “Expectations for trust are up across all product/service categories and brands an average of 250+% year over year. Meanwhile, customer concerns regarding privacy, security, and brand transparency have reached a tipping point.”

“Marketers relying on a definition of ‘loyalty’ and ‘engagement’ as something they’ll recognize when it impacts their brands will be disappointed,” he continued. “Brand awareness is not loyalty; satisfaction is not loyalty; entertainment is not loyalty.”

In the 2019 CLEI, the No. 1 brands customers rated highly at creating emotional engagement and loyalty in the retail categories are:

Brand Keys uses an independently-validated research methodology that fuses emotional and rational aspects of the categories, identifies four path-to-purchase behavioral drivers for the category-specific Ideal, and identifies the values that form the components of each driver, along with their percent-contribution to engagement, loyalty, and profitability.

Consumers self-selected categories in which they are consumers and brands for which they are customers. Forty-five percent of consumers that par-took in the survey were interviewed by phone, forty-five (45%) percent…