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I am writing a web site that performs calculations used to inform business owners how many of their customers are repeat customers. The calculation will appear in a table, so I'd like the label to be short. I thought the word recidivism would convey the idea, but I double-checked the definition and see that it applies to an offender's tendency to re-offend. Is there a word that means the same but lacks the criminal implication?

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    You sound like you're asking for an alternative to fish without the water connection. Loyalty? In marketing parlance, it doesn't have the nobleness connection. Nov 11, 2015 at 23:02
  • Well, "relapse" is a similar term, but not much better in terms of unwanted implications.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 11, 2015 at 23:03
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    What about simply Repeat % or Repeat Customers, Repeat Custs, Repeats etc.
    – Jim
    Nov 11, 2015 at 23:14
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    A returnee is someone who comes back. Nov 11, 2015 at 23:29
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    Customer retention is a common term, but retention may not make sense as a column header. Nov 11, 2015 at 23:47

2 Answers 2

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Repeat customers is actually the perfect choice of phrase:

Repeat customer

Someone who buys again from a company that they have used before: Last year, 55% of revenues came from repeat customers. At a restaurant with a lot of repeat customers, a bad review might not make that much difference.

(Cambridge)

If you want a shorter word:

The calculation will appear in a table, so I'd like the label to be short. I thought the word recidivism would convey the idea, but I double-checked the definition and see that it applies to an offender's tendency to re-offend.

Simply shorten to repeating

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First of all, I don't know where you got recidivism from, but it has nothing to do with this idea. It normally means the exceptional retention of some trait that is normally done away with. If you find an adult frog with gills, it is recidivistic. Cutsie dogs like the shih tzu look like puppies their whole life. They were selectively bred for recidivism. The use of the term with respect to criminals is a bit of a distraction.

In addition to Gary's answer, loyal customer is also very common. It has the advantage of you being able to be define it any way you choose. Maybe you want to track customers who have returned twice. You can define them as loyal customers. Someone who has returned once is still a repeat customer, but they don't meet your criterion.

Primarily, customer loyalty is when a person transacts with a brand (or purchases a specific product) on an ongoing basis.

[...]

It’s up to each business to decide how it defines loyalty, whether it’s transaction size or frequency, fidelity, evangelism or just devoted engagement.

http://blog.accessdevelopment.com/what-is-the-definition-of-customer-loyalty

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