More than 1 in 5 US consumers (22%) admit that they are self-conscious about redeeming coupons at grocery stores, according to research by targeted marketing firm ICOM, commissioned by retail analytics firm Precima.
However, hard economic times over the past six months may be easing shoppers' inhibitions about coupon redemption, with nearly 57% of survey respondents who were previously self-conscious about coupons saying that they now no longer care what others think, as long as they are saving money.
The apparent stigma associated with using coupons at the checkout is also waning in key demographic segments. For those aged up to 35, a surprising 26% said that they had reduced their inhibitions about coupon usage during the past six months.
Nearly 20% in this demographic also said that they used to be self-conscious but are no longer so because of the economic benefit, while another 6% said that they are at least a little less self-conscious than before.
Almost 23% of respondents that have recently suffered a direct financial loss have become less self-conscious about redeeming coupons in-store.
"In a down economy even the most stubborn consumers are receptive to money saving offers," said Mark Hertenstein, ICOM's vice president of sales. "This is a good time for brands to engage desirable consumer segments with offers that appeal to a more frugal mindset."
Interestingly, 43% of shoppers said that they had used more coupons in the past six months, which supports ICOM's April 2008 survey findings in which 67% of consumers expected greater coupon usage in a recession.
Broken down by age, 57% of consumers aged up to 35 admitted to using more coupons in the past six months, compared to 40% aged 35-54, 36% aged 55-64, and 25% aged 65+.