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Coupon redemption declined by almost 23 percent in the third quarter of 2012, compared with the same period last year, according to Winston-Salem, N.C.-based technology company, Inmar.
The decline was precipitated by a combination of fewer and less attractive offers being made available, a generally more optimistic economic outlook among shoppers, and continued volatility in the marketplace.
The fall in redemption ran counter to a 7.6-percent increase in distribution for the same period. However, Inmar attributes the apparent disparity to distribution, in many cases, shifting away from some methods with high redemption rates -- like on-packs -- to methods with lower redemption rates.
Improved economic conditions, according to Inmar, are contributing to the decline. As consumers grow optimistic about the future, there tends to be a reduced gravitation toward promotions. The unemployment rate is predictive of coupon redemption, with recent reports placing unemployment at some of the lowest levels in the last couple of years.
“We don’t think for a minute that consumers are any less interested in coupons or deals,” said David Mounts, Inmar’s CEO. “While shoppers are in a better mood lately, less value was available to them last quarter and the realities are still pretty stark: underemployment remains comparatively high and the USDA predicts rising ‘food at home’ prices. That means coupons will continue to be a ‘go-to resource’ in the long term.”
Mounts’ perspective is supported by data from the 2012 Nielsen Homescan Survey of consumers, in which 41 percent of respondents reported using coupons on most shopping trips, an increase of four points over 2009.
Inmar anticipates 2012 ending with a net decline in coupon redemption, but sees likely improvement in fourth quarter redemption due to the increase in coupons available.
Inmar provides promotions management, coupons processing and business intelligence for more than 1700 retailers and manufacturers, and closely monitors coupon distribution and redemption across the country.