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More than 3.5 billion coupons for consumer packaged goods were redeemed in the United States last year, a 6.1 percent increase over 2010.
That’s according to Inmar, which reported that while redemption activity in the first half of last year showed virtually no change from 2010, a 16 percent jump in coupon response in the third quarter of 2011 sparked the overall annual increase.
The increase in coupon redemption seen in 2011 continues an upward trend that began almost five years ago. After declining for decades, coupon redemption has increased 34.6 percent since 2006.
“Shoppers continue to love coupons,” said Bob Carter, president of Inmar Promotion Services. “With consumer confidence flat, unemployment rates still a challenge and prices for most consumables on the rise, it’s now cool to be frugal, to shop smartly. And coupons are the vehicle consumers are using to do just that.”
The strong response to promotional offers comes in spite of a significant reduction in the number of coupons made available to consumers last year. After two years of increased distribution, marketers reduced coupon distribution by 7.5 percent to 311 billion coupons in 2011. The reduction was most apparent in the second half of the year, when distribution was slashed by 13 percent in the third quarter and 10 percent in the fourth, compared to 2010 distribution statistics.
Shoppers also saw declining coupon values and shorter redemption periods. The average face value declined by 1.3 percent (down to $1.57) and the average amount of time a shopper had to use a coupon decreased by 4 percent (down to 2.4 months). However, this did little to dampen consumer enthusiasm for these promotions as they redeemed an additional 200 million coupons in 2011.
Processing more than 2.3 billion coupons annually, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Inmar develops solutions that help improve quality, efficiency and collaboration in supply chain, consumer marketing, business intelligence, financial settlement and risk management.