While the economy is improving, the unemployment rate continues to exceed 9.5% and some experts predict that a healthy employment market may be 4 to 5 years away. News reports like this encourage consumers to continue looking for ways to save money. It’s all about the new thriftiness that many shoppers have embraced. And this thriftiness has led to higher rates of coupon use according to the 2010 NCH Coupon Fact Report, published by Valassis.
In 2009, over ¾’s of consumers reported using coupons regularly and saved a total of $800 million. In addition, they are clipping more coupons, remembering to bring them to the store for redemption and some are even joining coupon clubs.
And marketers have been responding to consumer interest by increasing their spending on this promotional method. In particular, consumer packaged goods companies have upped their coupon distribution by 11%. Many analysts see the additional coupon emphasis as an effective strategy to increase sales of branded products without resorting to a price discount.
Mostly recently, the categories for the highest growth rate in coupon distribution have been:
- Paper and plastic products
- Packaged meat/seafood (refrigerated)
- Candy and gum
- Light bulbs/electric goods and batteries
Suzie Brown, Valassis Chief Marketing Officer reports that "consumers won't part as easily with their hard-earned money without pairing it with a deal in print or digitally." And the digital distribution of coupons is expected to grow as well. While online coupons comprised 0.5% of 2008 distribution, that amount increased to 1% in 2009. Further, 10% of the digitally distributed coupons were redeemed. Regardless of the channel used – newspaper, direct mail, digital or in-store – more marketers are expected to use coupons in 2010 to connect with shoppers.[Source: Valassis Defines ‘new Normal’ Shopping Behavior. Valassis. 31 Mar. 2010. Web 6 Apr. 2010