E-coupon Growth Swamped That of Printed Newspaper Coupons in 2009

Following recent research that last year showed higher coupon usage for the first time in over a decade and a half, digital coupon provider Coupons.com has issued annual data finding growth in printed savings of over 170 percent last year. While coupon inserts in newspapers experienced increases of between 8 percent and 16 percent, e-coupons surpassed that growth by more than 10 to one. Coupons.com reported that nearly $1 billion in savings was printed from its network last year.

“For the first time in almost two decades, the use of coupons increased in 2009, in part due to the growth of digital coupons as more consumers made them part of their shopping routine and more brands tapped them to engage with their consumers,” said Coupons.com CEO Steven Boal. “We expect the adoption of digital coupons will continue to accelerate in 2010 as consumers and brands alike increasingly adopt them, and as we continue to enable companies to engage with their consumers with coupons in innovative ways, including mobile and social media initiatives.”

In 2009, printed savings from Coupons.com and the Coupons.com digital coupon network exceeded $858 million. The 170 percent increase over 2008 indicates even faster growth than the company experienced the prior year (2008 saw an increase of 133 percent over 2007). According to Coupons.com, among the key factors driving this growth were higher consumer adoption of online printable, save-to-store loyalty card and mobile coupons, and increased use of digital coupons by both manufacturers and retailers.

Over 20 percent of the U.S. population -- more than 45 million American consumers -- now use online coupons, up from 38 million in 2008, Coupons.com reported, adding that of these online coupon users, nearly one-third (13.1 million) don’t clip coupons from their Sunday newspaper, a 140 percent increase from 9.4 million in 2008.

The data additionally found that consumers who use digital coupons have an average household income of $97,000, a 23 percent higher income level than the U.S average, and that 34 percent of these users have a college degree (up from 32 percent in 2008), vs. 30 percent of those who use newspaper coupons and 27 percent of the general populace.

Cereal was far and away the biggest coupon category in 2009, Coupons.com noted, followed by such perennial favorites as yogurt, snacks, condiments and pizza, according to the data. Atlanta headed the list of the most frugal U.S. cities, with the average Coupons.com user in the Georgia capital saving over $531 with coupons from the site last year, the Coupons.com Savings Index reported. Tampa, Fla., captured the No. 2 spot, and rest of the top 10 consisted of Cincinnati; St. Louis; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Pittsburgh; and Kansas City, Mo.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Coupons.com Inc.’s grocery retail clients include A&P, HEB, Kroger and Safeway.
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