E-coupon growth outpaces newspaper coupons

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on February 23, 2011

E-coupon growth outpaces newspaper coupons

Following recent research revealing that coupon distribution in the US increased by 6.8% in 2010, Coupons.com has published its own 'Digital Coupons Trends Report' for 2010, confirming that the online savings industry is growing at a rapid pace, and that digital coupons are no exception.

The report showed that more than US$1.2 billion worth of digital coupons were issued in 2010, representing a 41% growth over the year before.

Compared to growth metrics for coupons distributed in newspapers of 7%, digital coupons outpaced the growth of their newspaper counterparts at a ratio of approximately 6 to 1.2.

According to Steven Boal, CEO for Coupons.com, "More and more consumers are making digital coupons a part of their shopping routine, accessing them across the entire digital domain - including the web, via social media, with consumer electronics, using their mobile phones, and so on. At the same time, brand marketers are increasingly engaging with consumers via digital offers."

The company's data revealed that users of digital coupons typically have higher household incomes and are better educated than users of newspaper coupons and the general population overall, dispelling the commonly perceived "low-brow" stigma that used to be associated with coupon usage.

The consumer who prints digital coupons has an average household income of US$105,000 (a 26% higher income level than the national average), and 36% of those who use digital coupons have a college degree (compared to 28% of those who use newspaper coupons and 26% of the general population).

Interestingly, adults with a household income of over US$100,000 are twice as likely to have redeemed coupons printed from an online source than adults with household income of less than US$35,000. At the same time, those with college degrees are almost twice as likely to have used coupons during the past six months as those who didn't graduate from high school.

Breakfast cereal was by far the most popular coupon category in 2010, followed by yogurt, refrigerated dough, portable snacks, and vegetables. Other categories including bottles, car seats and diaper pails were also popular, followed by soup, air, rug & fabric care, cheese, and lunch meats.

For the second year in a row Atlanta, Georgia, took the top spot in the 'Most Frugal US Cities' list for 2010. On average, regular users of Coupons.com in Atlanta printed or saved to a loyalty card more than US$1,000.00 worth of coupon savings in 2010 - almost twice the amount observed in 2009.

Representing over 16% of the US population, more than 49 million American consumers are now using online coupons, up from 45 million in 2009. And of that 49 million online coupon users, almost one-third (14.8 million) had not read or looked into the Sunday newspaper in the previous six months (a 13% increase over 13.1 million in 2008).

Research also indicated that some 73% of all US shoppers have used online printable coupons at some time in the past. Additionally, reflective of trends in the consumer vernacular, internet queries for coupons and related terms increased significantly on search engines during 2010. Specifically, searches on Google for "digital coupons" and "printable coupons" increased by 200% and 170%, respectively.

According to Coupons.com, weak economic conditions have been a primary factor driving the use of coupons overall, and US consumers appear to have an insatiable desire for deals and savings, as is suggested by the increased popularity of a broad range of offers such as digital coupons, daily deals, flash buying and online coupon codes. Consumer interest in savings is expected to remain steadfast regardless of economic recovery signs, with many reports predicting that buyer behaviour concerning savings may be here to stay.

Other factors influencing the growth of digital coupons included increased internet and mobile adoption by consumers, increased comfort with technology by mainstream consumers, and decreasing reach of traditional newspapers. Digital coupons are expected to continue to appear in new places throughout the digital world, including social media, consumer electronics, home appliances and even in-store kiosks and shopping carts.

In the longer term, with changes expected at the point-of-sale due to new technologies such as RFID (radio frequency identification) and NFC (near field communication), and increased use of mobile applications, coupons will soon be saved directly onto mobile devices and then redeemed without even having to scan the mobile's screen.

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