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Coupon enthusiasts are the driving force behind exploding redemption rates, according to new findings from Homescan, a service of The Nielsen Company.
Eighty-one percent of the units purchased using manufacturer coupons came from just 19 percent of U.S. households during the twenty-six week period ended June 27, 2009.
The most avid users, called “coupon enthusiasts,” are households that purchased 104 or more items using manufacturers’ coupons. The 10 percent of shoppers that fall into this category accounted for 62 percent of manufacturers’ coupon units. They also accounted for 16 percent of total unit sales, making them an attractive and important consumer target.
Still, the recession is driving heavier coupon usage among all types of consumers, as many lighter users have become heavier users. After three quarters of declines in 2008, coupon redemptions spiked 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to Inmar. This was followed by a 17 percent increase in the first quarter of 2009 and a 33 percent surge in the second quarter. This tally includes FSIs, on-pack offers and Internet coupons, but excludes retailer coupons.
Inmar also reported that more and more consumers are using coupons for both food and nonfood items. In the fourth quarter of 2008 nonfood redemptions were -3 percent. However, in the second quarter of this year, redemptions for nonfood items were up 46 percent. Food coupon redemptions were 21 percent in Q4 2008 and increased 27 percent in the second quarter of 2009.
Overall, 1.6 billion coupons were redeemed in the first half of 2009. “Without question, coupon usage is undergoing a renaissance,” said Todd Hale, SVP, consumer & shopping insights at Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen. “More consumers are looking for value and lower prices as retailers and manufacturers are distributing more coupons and making it easier for consumers to leverage technology to access coupons they want with less effort.”
“These findings from Nielsen suggest that the increased coupon usage we’ve seen this year not only helped consumers stretch their budgets, but also provided meaningful sales impact to manufacturers and retailers,” said Matthew Tilley, director of marketing at Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Inmar. “Coupons have always been an effective way to encourage trial and repeat purchase, and are proving to be a bright spot in an otherwise dreary economic environment.”