Blogging Out Loud

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5 Reasons Coupons Still Matter.

Coupon talk, for marketers, boils down to distribution and redemption, product trial, continuity and loading. So it’s encouraging that despite coupon distribution stagnating in recent years, coupon redemption has skyrocketed. In 2011, 3.5 billion coupons were redeemed in the United States. According to a recent report from Inmar, 2011 coupon redemption rates were up 6.1% from the previous year; since 2006, coupon redemption has increased 34.6%. Another study from Coupons.org claims 2011 saw a 63% surge in coupon use. Internet access and smartphone use are partly responsible, but so is the changing face of the coupon clipper. Coupons.org found that households earning $100,000 or more are twice as likely to use coupons as households earning less than $35,000. Similarly, college graduates are more likely to use coupons than high-school dropouts. Statistics such as these make a strong argument for the role smartphone technology and mobile apps play in coupon distribution. But the ways coupons reach consumers sans smartphone have increased, as well. FSIs are still the leading method of coupon distribution, but in terms of redemption, Inmar found FSIs account for 43.9% of coupons redeemed. In-store coupons and electronic checkout are making waves, and so is the consumer’s ability to print deals from home.

Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems that while discounts will forever change, with coupons “the deal” remains the same: everybody loves a bargain, no matter how it’s delivered. 

With that, here are 5 reasons coupons still matter:

1. Saving face — Along with the aforementioned shift in the demographics of coupon clippers comes with another realization: thriftiness is no longer taboo. “Because of the current economic situation, consumers have to be smarter when they’re shopping,” says Vertical Marketing Network Senior Account Director Nicco Mouleart. “Part of that is looking for deals, and taking advantage of deals that are available.”

2. Strength in numbers — Direct mail, electronic checkout, electronic shelf, handout, in-ad, in-pack, instant redeemable… The list goes on and on as to ways to connect to the consumer in-person. Add online and mobile access, and you get a sense that the possibilities are endless.

3. The online rise — 3.5 billion coupons were redeemed in the United States last year, up 6.1% from 2010. Since before the recession, online coupon use has increased by 360%.

4. Food still delivers — While coupons distributed for non-food items (186 billion) outnumber those for food items (approximately 125 billion), coupons for food see more redemption. FSIs are the leading distribution method for both categories.

5. “Click” is the new “clip” — In 2011, one in five smartphone users used mobile coupons — more than twice the percentage from the previous year.

While shifting demographics and more methods for delivery — both online and off — help keep coupons relevant to consumers, marketers will be challenged to create exciting and enticing promotions.

Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.
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About JJ Nelson

Freelance blogger for Vertical Marketing Network; food writer; bartender.

4 comments on “5 Reasons Coupons Still Matter.

  1. Kate
    April 18, 2012

    I can actually understand why households with higher incomes would use coupons more ofter. Due to their economic position they are much more likely to 1) get the paper delivered, providing access to the FSI’s 2) have online access for ecoupons and 3) have a smartphone for those instant deals.

    I love the idea of coupons but constantly forget them either at home or in the car. I do best with those that are loaded onto my loyalty card at the supermarket, or that they mail direcly to me, since they are very targeted. I would be interested to see how much more an e-coupon sent directly to targeted consumers gets more use than one put in the Sunday paper.

    Like

  2. Joanne
    April 18, 2012

    I’m a proponent of coupons. I don’t think we should have to pay full price for anything. Unfortunately, I also realize that prices are bumped up, then discounted, so the retailer never really loses! I also take full advantage of the “loss leaders” at the grocery stores! I’ve even discovered and downloaded the Von’s app as they have specials beyond the normal Tuesday paper … pretty darned exciting. I’m a couponer, but won’t purchase something I don’t need for the sake of “saving”. My kids used to say “if Mom doesn’t have a coupon for it, we can’t get it”! Now they’re grown and are couponing themselves … as I also taught them that whatever money they save
    they should set aside for that special purchase.

    Like

  3. Tiffany
    April 17, 2012

    In a slightly different mindframe than Alice, it makes sense to me that “households earning $100,000 or more are twice as likely to use coupons than households earning less than $35,000.” I have a few family members who make in excess of $100k who use coupons religiously. One of the ones they are able to save their money and have a nice lifestyle is by the use of their coupons. I am surprised to hear that households making less than $35,000 do not use coupons frequently though. However, like Alice, I think that couponers can quickly lead an unhealthy lifestyle.

    A website that is really catching storm is ebates.com. Ebates partners with major and minor retailers and offers you a percentage back for purchasing from the retailers through their site. My husband and I purchase many items online through ebates and can get upwards of $50 back a month. This is my replacement of coupons because I do not have time to clip coupons or look for coupons online. If coupons could easily come to my phone without having to search for them, I would be more interested in using them.

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  4. Alice
    April 17, 2012

    I dont quite agree with the statement “Coupons.org found that households earning $100,000 or more are twice as likely to use coupons as households earning less than $35,000.” It doesnt quite make sense to me why a higher earning household would be more likely to use coupons as a lower income household. They dont have as much to lose as the latter since they have more disposable income.

    Personally, I thought coupons were embarrassing for the majority of my life. To me, it felt like i was being a coupon mom and was less fortunate. It wasn’t until the last few years that i realized i could save some of that money for myself. Shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing made the concept big again. It was fun to try a few times but I’m totally over it. These people try everything in excess and have really latched their life to it. It’s truly an unhealthy lifestyle. But anyways, I’ll check out an FSI or coupon every so often but thats the extent of my couponing. I will however scour for deals online. It doesnt seem as bad if no one knows how i do it. :p

    Like

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