Marketers to Continue Coupon Promotion through Digital/​Traditional Mix

Consumers have been turning to both traditional and digital coupons in record numbers since the start of the Great Recession. Even as the economic stress eases, many consumers are likely to continue coupon use.  But marketers need to determine how to allocate their investment in coupons between the traditional and digital format. New research from Knowledge Networks suggests that digital coupon use is closely linked to specific demographic groups.

Since the start of the recession, 27% more coupons are being redeemed. And marketers will be happy to know that for digital coupons, 46% of redeemers had not previously purchased the product or service being offered. For traditional free standing inserts (FSIs), 34% of redeemers were new customers. The following demographic groups have increased their use of all coupons at much higher rates than other consumer groups:

  • Young adults – Gen Y
  • Single households, no children, lower income (GenX and other singles)
  • Baby Boomers on limited incomes

And in most cases, the heavy users of both traditional and digital coupons tend to be very large families, Baby Boomers and Gen X parents. It’s worth noting that very large families comprise 15.6% of the digital redeemer population. The next largest category is labeled Boomer Barons which comes in at 8.5%. However, very large families also make up 11.6% of the population that redeems FSI coupons.

Study author Neal Heffeman says this pattern suggests “a marketer needs to use a combination of digital and traditional print to maximize consumer promotion dollars.”

The survey results also show that younger consumers are slightly more likely to redeem digital instead of traditional coupons. There may well be a transition in the coupon market, and that transition may be affected by the increased use of mobile devices but for now, both digital and traditional formats play an important role for marketers seeking to reach new customers.

[Source: Heffeman, Neal. Digital vs. Traditional Coupons. Knowledgenetworks​.com. 17 Apr. 2011. Web. 28 Apr. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.