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Most shoppers would continue to use coupons even if they won the lottery, because for them, it’s not just about the money – it’s a way of life. And grocery shopping leads the pack of which purchases provoke coupon use.
That’s the revelation of the fourth annual Purse String Study from Redplum.com, a leading provider of coupons, deals and savings on branded products.
The study said 96 percent of the more than 23,300 respondents said that they would still use coupons if they struck it big in the lottery. This reflects the value-oriented mindset that took root at the onset of the recession. This learned behavior was shared by shoppers whether their annual income was $20,000 or more than $150,000.
According to the study, consumers across the board are:
- Enlisting more ways to save, although not necessarily putting more time against these tactics; they are savvy and it has become second nature.
- Overwhelmingly allocating their coupon savings to basic necessities like food and gas, which speaks to the impact the challenging economy continues to have on them.
- More digitally connected where there were notable increases in those who are downloading coupons to their mobile phones and spending more time seeking deals online.
“Today’s savers are relying on behaviors learned during recessionary times that have become a part of their everyday life,” said Lisa Reynolds, RedPlum’s Mom Saver-in-chief. “Our survey shows consumers are trying to save more through coupons, deals and special offers, despite their confidence level remaining basically unchanged from last year. Rising food and gas prices combined are driving their increased savings strategies and basic necessities are where they are allocating their savings, even more than last year. It is clear in a number of areas, that if anything, savings behavior has grown since 2010.”
The Purse String Study found that 56 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds use coupons or coupon codes, according to the parents of these teens, savers themselves. The teens, however, are using coupons and coupon codes for items most important to them: 25 percent clothing, 19 percent entertainment and 18 percent beauty care/grooming.
In focus groups, savers have expressed a sense of pride and joy and desire to share their savings. When asked if they have ever hidden a purchase from their significant other, 74 percent of study respondents said no, further supporting pride in their great finds. This same pride is rubbing off on their children.
When it comes to saving, today’s consumers are not loyal strictly to print or digital – they embrace both. While 60 percent spend up to two hours looking for coupons, deals and savings from print sources, 31 percent spend three or more hours each week online looking for deals. This online statistic reflects a 265 percent increase from 2010. Mobile is moving forward quickly especially with those under 50.
Consumers are seeking value from multiple sources and are more engaged in digital offers, although this new media still represents a small percentage of all offers in the marketplace. While 22 percent have downloaded a coupon to a mobile device, this is a 107 percent increase from 2010 findings. Those most likely to use a mobile device for couponing are age 18 t o 44 with children at home with a household income of $75,000 or more.
Shoppers are engaging in new ways to save, but also are relying on tried and true savings in the form of print coupons. The study revealed that 76 percent indicated that newspapers are their primary source for coupons and deals; 59 percent from e-mails and coupon alerts, a 29 percent increase from 2010; and 33 percent from Internet searches.
For the second consecutive year, a majority of shoppers (77 percent) have said they are using their savings for basic necessities, reflecting a 20 percent increase from the prior year. Additionally, 35 percent said they will use their savings to pay down debt, which is in line with BigResearch’s most recent Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. In that survey, nearly one-third said they are planning to pay down debt in the next three months.
Today, people are redirecting their savings toward fundamental household items and services. More of them are putting their coupon savings toward paying down debt, long-term savings and an emergency fund, according to Purse String Study. Only 7 percent said they will use the money saved from couponing to splurge. Similar categories such as vacations, dining out and entertainment experienced decreases compared to last year’s Purse String findings as areas of desired spend.
Seventy-seven percent said they save $11 or more each week, compared to 67 percent in 2010. Additionally, there has been a 74 percent increase in the number who save more than $50 each week – 23 percent.
Three in four say the price of gas is still impacting their budgets, according to BigResearch, which puts even more importance on increased ways to save. As evidenced by findings of the Purse String Study, rising food and gas prices have affected spending behaviors and led shoppers to enlist more ways to save: 81 percent are using more coupons, 73 percent are planning more prior to shopping and 69 percent are combining shopping trips.
“There is a strong focus on maximizing dollars,” Reynolds said. “These tactics are effective for grocery shopping but by no means are limited to the grocery store. As we gear up for the biggest shopping time of the year, I would expect these shopping strategies will carry over to the holiday season.” BigResearch has also reported that all consumers plan to be frugal in the holiday season this year.
According to the Purse String Study, grocery continues to be the No. 1 category for savings, with 92 percent indicating they are using coupons for those every day needs. Additionally, 45 percent are using coupons for dining out, 38 percent for clothing and 35 percent for cosmetics and beauty products.
More people are indeed saving more this year, as the survey results indicate. In the first half of 2011, Americans saved $2 billion, according to the U.S. Mid-year 2011 Consumer Packaged Goods Coupon Facts Report, released in July by NCH Marketing Services Inc., a Valassis subsidiary.