Everybody likes a bargain. Much has been made of the daily deal phenomenon as the best way to deliver bargains but consumers are also shopping around for traditional coupons. The 2012 Coupon Facts Report, from NCH Marketing Services, shows the latest trends in the coupon industry on the part of consumers and marketers.

Last year, marketers continued to use coupons to tempt consumers to buy their products. Over $470 billion in coupon value was offered. In a noticeable change, grocery product concerns cut back on their coupon offerings while companies in the health and beauty care segment increased the coupons they released. Consumers responded to the boost in coupons. They saved over $4.6 billion by redeeming coupons. This was a growth rate of 12.2% over the previous year.

According NCH Marketing Services data, the top volume growth in 2011 was for the following categories:

  • Dried fruit 56.5%
  • Butter & margarine 32.9%
  • First aid 31.6%
  • Eye care treatment products & solutions 29.1%
  • Candy & gum 17.7%

Marketers attempted to influence consumer behavior by shortening the coupon duration time to 9.9 weeks and by requiring multiple item purchases in 27% of cases. Analysts also noted that consumers redeemed more coupons at mass merchants and drug stores last year, a trend which may reflect how the expanding inventory at these establishments is affecting where shopping is done. In some cases, coupons are promoting savings at specific stores.

Charlie Brown, NCH Vice President of Marketing, noted that 2011 was an unusual year and that marketers were “managing and leveraging heightened consumer demand for coupon savings.” Coupons continue to be a solid marketing tool for businesses and analysts suspect that 2012 will be another growth year for the sector.

[Source: Coupon Facts Report. NCH Marketing. Nchresourcecenter.com. 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 9 Apr. 2012]