Whenever new statistics are released about coupon usage, shoppers’ habits and the state of the coupon industry, I eagerly pore over them. I love seeing how couponing changes year-to-year, and continue to be fascinated by our ever-changing industry. Are digital coupons overtaking paper, or are consumers still reaching for the scissors and clipping paper each week? Do you plan your coupon-shopping trip before leaving the house, or do you take your coupons with you and put a trip together once you’re in the store?
Recently, two power players in the coupon industry released detailed reports on coupon use over the past year, and I’d like to share some highlights from both with you. First, Inmar’s 2017 Promotion Industry Analysis sheds light on just how many coupons were issued and used last year.
In 2016, consumers redeemed 2.2 billion coupons! While digital coupon usage continues to rise, paper still tops the list of which kind of coupons consumers use most. Last year, 34.6 percent of coupons redeemed came from the coupon inserts in the newspaper. In fact, paper coupons found in the store, on product packaging and in the mail encompass another 35.5 percent of coupons redeemed.
Fully electronic forms of digital coupons, including load-to-card and electronic checkout offers encompass another 16.2 percent of coupons used. Print-at-home coupons, while technically paper, are considered digital coupons, too. They represent 3.6 percent of the coupons shoppers used last year.
For nearly ten years now, I’ve heard industry rumblings and rumors that paper coupons are “going away” or will be eclipsed by digital. While digital coupons continue to grow in popularity each year, more than 70 percent of the coupons people redeemed last year were still of the paper variety. Paper fans, you can rest assured that paper coupons aren’t falling by the wayside anytime soon.
More than 64 percent of coupons issued by brands and retailers were for non-food products, but when we look at the number of coupons actually redeemed by consumers, 63 percent of those coupons were for food. I suspect many of my readers’ shopping habits will fit into this usage – mine does as well. A continuing theme among the email I receive from readers is “Please give us more food coupons!”
Last year, the average face value of a coupon was $1.64. Now think about this: If you used just six coupons per week in 2016, you saved more than $500 over the course of the year.
For a look at how consumers use coupons, I turned to Valassis’ 2017 Key Trends in Coupon Use report. Valassis found that more than 90 percent of consumers reported they used coupons in 2017. Thirty-seven percent of consumers surveyed stated that they prefer to get their coupons from the newspaper inserts, while an equal 37 percent would rather load electronic coupons to a store’s loyalty card.
If you’re a fan of cash-back receipt-scanning apps, you’re in good company, as 53 percent of shoppers take part in receipt-scanning rewards programs, like Checkout 51, Ibotta and SavingStar
Where are shoppers finding coupons? Seventy percent of people visit store and manufacturer websites, while 62 percent rely on links from savings blogs to help them find the coupons they wish to use.
Do you plan your shopping trips at home? If so, you’re not alone – 53 percent of grocery shoppers state that they decide what to buy before they go to the store. Ninety percent of shoppers report creating a list prior to shopping, and 84 percent of them use coupons in conjunction with their own lists. Not surprisingly, more than 70 percent of shoppers reported that they will only buy an item if they have a coupon for it.
Eighty-four percent of shoppers noted that choosing in which store to shop is influenced by coupons, too. Stores that accept competitor coupons or offer their own electronic coupons may make a particular store a more attractive choice for consumers. I know in my own experience, I do gravitate toward stores that are more coupon-friendly and also offer their own coupons, and I thought it was interesting this was a metric researchers are measuring.