Coupons more popular in US than Canada
Coupon usage in Canada is lagging significantly behind coupon usage in the United States, and their usage in the US is also growing more quickly, according to a survey by ICOM (a division of Epsilon Targeting).
The survey of consumers in the US and Canada examined behaviours and attitudes relating to coupons and found that, of the 3,692 US consumers surveyed, 28% use coupons more than once per week (up from 24% in 2008) and 36% use them once per week (up from 33% in 2008).
In Canada, however, only 16% of the 3,051 consumers surveyed said they were using coupons more than once per week (unchanged from 2008) and 28% use them once per week (up from 27% in 2008).
With regard to distribution, 80% of the US respondents receive their coupons in newspapers, while most Canadian respondents (82%) receive theirs by mail. A little more than half of US (54%) and Canadian (51%) respondents receive coupons via the internet or email.
When it comes to their preferences, 69% of US respondents prefer to receive coupons by mail and 59% prefer to receive them by newspaper. In Canada, most (74%) said they prefer to receive their coupons by mail.
When asked how their current coupon use compares to one year before, 43% of US respondents used more coupons than the previous year, whereas only 38% of Canadian respondents used more.
The top reason for US respondents' increased usage of coupons in the last year was "tried to save money due to the recession" (79%) followed by "received more coupons that are useful to me" (54%). For Canadian respondents, the recession had less of an impact, with only 60% saying they tried to save money due to the recession, 69% saying they received more coupons that are useful to them, and 59% had more coupons sent to them in the mail.
If the recession continues, 46% of US respondents said they are much more likely to use coupons and 28% said they are somewhat more likely, while only 25% said they would not change their coupon usage. Fewer Canadian respondents (36%) said they are much more likely to use coupons if the recession continues.
When asked about their likelihood to use coupons even after the end of the recession, 27% of US respondents and 20% of Canadian respondents said they are much more likely to use coupons, and 21% in the US and 25% in Canada are somewhat more likely to use coupons. Only 1% of respondents in each region said they are much less likely to use coupons.
According to ICOM, the results could indicate a lasting change in the psyche of consumers with regard to how they shop and spend, as a result of challenging economic times. Coupon usage, while once perceived to be limited to a small segment of the population, may well be adopted as the new 'norm'. As a result, the company suggests, marketers should begin to take into account this change in behaviour as they plan for the future.
Respondents in the US are also more likely to have ever printed an online coupon (78%) compared to their counterparts in Canada (70%). Nearly one third (30%) of Canadians have not printed any coupons from an email or the internet, suggesting a lapse in online consumer engagement.
According to Brian Rainey, president for Epsilon Targeting, "Especially in challenging economic times, consumers are budget-minded and coupons can drive purchases and create brand loyalty. By understanding both consumer behaviours and preferences in the US and Canada, marketers can more effectively use coupons to target and engage consumers. Our research shows a multichannel approach that leverages data, personalisation and analytics will resonate most with consumers."