New loyalty card programme Nectar, which kicked-off on Monday backed by a £12 million ($6.01m; €6.14m) ad campaign, claims to have attracted 5% of the UK population to its website day one of its launch.

The UK population currently stands at 59.756m or thereabouts (according to WARC’s Marketing Pocketbook), and 5% of this figure rounds-up to 2.99m – an average of 124,583 eager consumers per hour jostling to log onto the site. Little wonder it crashed at least twice on the first day.

According to Keith Mills, chairman of Loyalty Management UK, the company behind the scheme: “"Consumer interest in the Nectar programme has been phenomenal and we are well on the way to becoming the [nation’s] biggest rewards programme. We have already enrolled almost 100,000 people online.”

A further 900,000 were signed by J Sainsbury, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain and the programme’s anchor participant. Other Nectar members are Barclaycard, BP and the Debenhams department store group.

Mills, one of the founding duo behind the rival Air Miles loyalty programme (now owned by British Airways and promotionally linked to Britain's largest supermarketeer Tesco), is thinking big and has predicted that 50% of all Britons will sign up to Nectar.

But Asda, third of Britain's big three supermarkets, greeted the Nectar launch with a pronounced sniff, quoting research that 93% of UK shoppers prefer lower prices to collecting rewards points.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff