Coupon Trends Released for 2013

Redemption holds steady as consumer interest remains high and marketers leverage technology

Winston-Salem, N.C.Jan. 17, 2014Inmar, a company that operates intelligent commerce networks, announced that industry-wide coupon redemption remained steady in 2013 at 2.9 billion coupons redeemed, while distribution grew 3.6 percent compared to 2012. Some 329 billion coupons for consumer packaged goods (CPGs)—including both traditional, paper coupons and digital, paperless coupons—were distributed in the U.S. last year. Of the coupons distributed in 2013, roughly 40 percent were for food products and 60 percent for non-food products.

The preferred method of distribution for marketers—and the most popular method for redemption by consumers—continues to be free-standing inserts (FSIs). FSIs represented 87.3 percent of all coupons distributed in 2013 and accounted for 41 percent of all redeemed coupons. According to the Inmar 2014 Shopper Behavior Study, 49 percent of shoppers regularly use FSI coupons, making them the most frequently used method among shoppers (when ranked against the other discovery/acquisition methods). In terms of redeemed offer count, more than a billion of the 2.9 billion coupons redeemed in 2013 were FSIs.

At the same time, digital coupons—enabling more personalized promotion and deployed by marketers with enhanced targeting—continued to grow ahead of the overall rate of coupon growth, and consequently, increased their share of redemption. These are coupons that consumers load directly to their shopper loyalty accounts from retailer and publisher websites, as well as other locations. Without paper involved, these offers are applied automatically at checkout and discounts instantly credited when the shopper presents their loyalty card or unique individual identifier.

In 2013, more than 66 million digital coupons were redeemed industry-wide according to Inmar estimates—a 141 percent increase over 2012. Inmar alone facilitated the redemption of almost 44 million digital coupons in 2013, giving it the largest share of digital coupon redemption information in the industry. That represents a 120 percent increase over the approximately 20 million paperless coupons the company settled in 2012.

Other methods accounting for sizable portions of coupons redeemed included instant redeemable (15.6 percent), electronic checkout (8.4 percent), shelf pad (5.9 percent), Internet print at home (5.2 percent) and direct mail (4.1 percent).

“Our latest shopper survey results confirm that coupons remain popular with consumers,” said Inmar CEO David Mounts. “With 96 percent of shoppers we spoke to telling us they used coupons in 2013, there’s no question as to their importance as a marketing tool.” Mounts added, “However, as shopper behavior continues to change and offer expectations continue to increase, advertisers must employ holistic engagement strategies that deliver both mass distributed offers for reach, as well as relevant, targeted content through both traditional and digital methods. More than ever, effectively delivering value into the marketplace requires the careful and consistent application of consumer-centric analytics.”

Responding to market conditions, advertisers are making offers more attractive and easier for consumers to redeem. While the average face value of distributed coupons declined slightly in 2013 (down 0.6 percent to $1.56), the average face value of redeemed coupons grew significantly (up 12.4 percent to $1.27). Consumers responded to offers they found compelling—motivated to action, in large part, by the face value of the offer.

At the same time, the average purchase requirement of coupons distributed decreased 5.1 percent to 1.48 units per offer—compared to 1.56 units in 2012. Redemption periods for distributed coupons did not contract (as they did for the last four years) and remained unchanged at 2.2 months. Similarly, the average redemption period for coupons redeemed expanded 1.9 percent to 5.3 months. Consumers appear appreciative of lengthier redemption periods and the flexibility to use coupons on their own schedule as their needs warrant.

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