Internet coupon users and traditional coupon users are virtually the same in terms of motivation and behaviour, and brand marketers are missing out on the internet users, according to a study conducted by NFO WorldGroup and published by CoolSavings.
The 2002 US Coupon Trends Report looked at the role of the internet in consumer coupon behaviour, as well as the attitudes and actions of internet coupon users in comparison to users of traditional coupon media such as the newspapers.
Both groups of coupon users (traditional and internet) share a similar composition, comprising around 85% women and 15% men. Both groups indicated that the main reason they use coupons is "to save money on a favourite brand", followed by "trying newly introduced products or brands."
By comparison, only a small number of each group said they usually compare prices and only buy the cheapest product (including private label and store brands).
And, when it comes to making a purchase, both groups base their final purchase decisions on three primary factors: category-specific brand requirements, price, and promotional activity.
"Together these findings show that internet coupon users, like traditional coupon users, employ a variety of factors when making purchase decisions - not just price," explained Mathew Moog, CEO of CoolSavings. "And they are proven brand-oriented shoppers whose main motivation for using coupons is not getting the cheapest product but saving money on favourite brands."
But, despite the similarities between the two groups, the study also found that they differ significantly in three key areas: family size, grocery spending and brand loyalty.
Internet coupon users were shown to be 110% more likely to have large family (with four or more members) than traditional coupon users (up to three members), and they spend over 30% more on groceries every week, across all product categories.
In terms of brand loyalty, while traditional coupon users are more heavily focused on price and promotion, the internet coupon users are more likely to buy the brands they prefer, across almost all product categories studied.
Brand marketing tip
"Brand marketers should take note: Internet coupon users are valuable consumers who should be actively targeted," asserts Moog.
According to CoolSavings, the Newspaper Association of America reports that only 65% of US households read the Sunday newspapers. The study also claims that around 84% of coupons were distributed through the newspapers in the past year, suggesting that brand marketers are actually missing out on a valuable consumer segment: internet coupon users.
For the purpose of the study, a traditional coupon user was defined as anyone who had used more than six coupons, promotions or rebates sourced from newspaper inserts, magazines, and direct mail in the past four months. An internet coupon user was defined as anyone who used more than two coupons, promotions or rebates sourced through the internet in the past four months.