Marketing to Moms: Coupons Experience Renaissance

October 31, 2010 § 1 Comment

Moms pride themselves on how much money they can save on groceries. Whether this new savvy shopper was caused by the recession or just a newfound realization that saving money is just plain smart, it seems that coupons are cool again!  Some 11.6% more coupons were issued industry-wide in the third quarter of 2010 than a year ago (year-to-date through Sept. 30, 2010) according to NCH Marketing Services.

And according to Advertising Age, coupons are even helping keep newspapers afloat in this online age as shoppers buy the newspapers for the weekly free-standing inserts.  But many shoppers are more attune to the online coupons that they get from retailers, freebie and smart shopper blogs and emails.

Last year, redemption of coupons that go through clearinghouses surged 23% to 3.2 billion coupons (and up 30% to $3.5 billion in value) in the U.S., the first gain in 17 consecutive years, according to data from Valassis Communications, which also owns NCH, one of the largest coupon clearinghouses.

About 91% of consumers 25 to 34 use newspaper coupons.  The younger group of shoppers have become devotees of coupons because they have had to learn to juggle budgets during this precarious recessionary times.  It has also become an addiction or badge of honor for some who are working hard to cut their grocery bills by at least 50%.  One friend told me she posts her savings on her refrigerator next to her children’s artwork!

Seems advertisers are helping, offering free and buy-one-get-one-free offers to keep consumers trying new products and stocking up.

Online Coupon Redemption Growing

While internet coupons account for only 1% of overall distribution, they were up to almost 10% of redemptions last year, per NCH data. Were last year’s growth rates to continue, internet coupons would account for more redemptions than FSI coupons by next year.  In addition to traditional coupons, consumers are also being bombarded with offers from group purchase sites like Groupon and Living Social.

So, while companies do not like to get addicted to coupons to deliver customers, the reality for today is that coupons are part of the online and offline shopping experience.  It is important to use coupons smartly, to introduce new products or line extensions and to provide for upsells at the shelf.

Marketers shifting coupon offers

Marketers are responding to the resurgence of coupons with new values and expiration dates.  Third-quarter year-to-date 2010 findings reveal the following compared to the same period in 2009:

  • 260 billion coupons were distributed versus 233 billion;
  • Average face value increased to $1.44 compared to $1.37;
  • Multiple purchase requirements account for 29% of all CPG coupons distributed, up 2 share points; and
  • Expiration dates average 9.3 weeks compared to 10.9 weeks.

Consider this a free, no expiration date coupon on advice for marketing to moms.

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