Coupons still driving purchase decisions, say market researchers

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Marketing

Coupons serve as both incentives to try new products as well as loyalty rewards, and consumers are continuing to seek them out, according to new market research from M/A/R/C and The Integer Group.

The market researchers claim that consumers have “fallen off the frugal wagon”​ with a decline in what they refer to as frugal shopping behaviors. However, according to their ongoing surveys examining consumer behavior, shopping habits and economic outlook, 60 percent of consumers say they look for coupons before entering a grocery store, and 86 percent rate them as at least “somewhat influential”.

In 2008, the United States saw its first increase in coupon redemption since the early 90s, with cash-strapped consumers redeeming 2.6 billion of them. But coupon redemption skyrocketed in 2009, up 27 percent on 2008, according to Inmar, which acts as a middleman in promotional transactions. This was still a long way off the peak year for coupon volume, which was at the end of the last major recession in 1992, when 7.9 billion coupons were redeemed.

Newspaper inserts remained the most popular means of coupon distribution during 2009, accounting for 89 percent, but for internet coupons, redemption growth rose 263 percent last year.

Senior vice president, Integer Group Craig Elston said: “Coupon value is ranked as the highest motivating factor driving a consumer to switch from their preferred product or brand. Shoppers also want simple, clean, and easy-to-redeem coupons, which increases the likelihood of their use by three times.”

Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents (74 percent) said that coupons are convenient and useful, and consumers were nearly evenly split on whether they decide on a brand first and then find a corresponding coupon, or the other way around.

Shoppers were also nearly evenly split into those who actively search for coupons, and those who use coupons when they run into them, the market researchers said.

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