Connecting You with the Latest Marketing Tips and Trends.
Coupons. Does the mere mention conjure images of your mother sitting at the kitchen table on Sunday mornings, coffee in hand and scissors not far behind? It does for me. Later, there would be the inevitable trips to this store and that, stocking up with the added thrill of saving a buck or two. It wasn’t until I was living alone for the first time and playing grown-up that I realized my mother’s coupon habit (and her mother’s before that) wasn’t as thrifty as I thought. Rarely does a single gal like me need the three or five cans of soup that warrant a price break, and as much as I love a bargain, who of us has the time to skim the FSIs, let alone spend an afternoon dashing around town for a deal? Coupons, I thought, were a thing of the past.
Then, the other day, I received email advertising “Martini Week.” Sure the subject caught my eye, but it was the fine print that really got me: for a two-week period, participating restaurants were shaking up premium martinis at a $10 price tag. Imbibers simply needed a code word to seal the deal. Code words, promotion codes, online deals: I’ve been seeing them a lot.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud here, but are these not the coupons of the 21st century — eco-friendly, more user-friendly and all-around chicer in their new disguise?
A quick Facebook poll of my friends revealed many of my girlfriends use these new coupons on a regular basis, and according to an April 2010 report from The Nielsen Co., “While newspaper inserts are still the primary method of coupon distribution (89 percent) and redemption (53 percent), Internet redemption growth has skyrocketed, rising 263 percent in 2009.” No longer, it seems, are coupons for clipping. Savvy companies are targeting consumers who readily have access to the Internet, be it via home computer or Smartphone. They also seem to be reaching out to consumers with an attractive asset: money to spare.
Sure, web sites such as Groupon and applications such as mobiQpons alert shoppers to deals at Wal-Mart, but they also advertise discounts at Banana Republic and Whole Foods Market (aka Whole Paycheck), hardly bastions of savings. Recently, one New York-area Groupon discount was for sailing lessons (who do they think I am?). While surveys show this paradigm shift isn’t new, it certainly seems appropriate for the current economic outlook. The Nielsen report confirms:
“…One might think that the lowest income households would be among the heaviest users. In fact, more affluent households dominate coupon usage: 38 percent of ‘super heavy’ users and 41 percent of ‘enthusiasts’ come from households with incomes greater than $70,000. Households with income of $100,000 and up were the primary drivers of coupon growth in 2009.”
Quoting another Nielsen finding, the Wall Street Journal reported in March that heavy coupon users, defined as consumers who redeem 104 or more coupons within the span of six months, “tend to be females under the age of 54 with college degrees and household incomes above $70,000.” I know I speak for my peers and myself when I say that even when I don’t feel like I’ve got cash to burn, I’m going to buy what I need. But even with the economy looking up, consumers need additional incentive — beyond the need — to buy luxury items. By giving an old medium a much-needed makeover, companies are targeting a new demographic: “Generation Q.” And this generation — no matter our age — is listening and ready to spend.