For the past several years, most consumers couldn’t be bothered clipping or printing coupons. But the recession seems to have changed all that and coupon use began to rapidly rise in 2008. So will marketers be using more coupons to generate consumer purchases of products and services? Before 1098660_tag_icon_setwe can answer that question, it’s worth checking out Nielsen Company’s recent analysis of coupon redemption. It turns out there are specific groups of consumers – enthusiasts – who account for a large share of redemption. And some distribution methods seem more popular than others.

According to Nielsen, over 80% of coupons from manufacturers that are redeemed can be traced to about 20% of shoppers. These statistics can be further narrowed to 10% of shoppers, ‘coupon enthusiasts’, who redeemed almost 2/3’s of coupons. However, overall coupon use was up by the following percentages in the second quarter of 2009.

  • Non-food  +46%
  • Food  +27%

The increases in redemption rates suggest that marketers can effectively reach consumers via this advertising channel. But shoppers are finding their coupons in new places these days. Inmar reports that direct mail, Internet, and newspapers are all growing. Losing ground with marketers who distribute coupons are FSIs (free-standing inserts), in-ads and in-packs.  Inmar’s director of marketing, Matthew Tilley expects coupon use will continue to be a meaningful way for manufacturers and retailers to prompt consumers to try and then continue to buy new products as long as they deploy the coupon drop through favored distribution channels.

[Sources: Hein, Kenneth. Coupon Enthusiasts Drive Up Redemption Rates, Brandweek. 9.4.09; Marketing Charts, Inmar release, 2009]