Economic Woes Spur Coupon Use

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Economic Woes Spur Coupon Use

In the year since the financial crisis first began to take a bite out of consumers’ budgets, coupon use has risen, according to the PMA Coupon Council. Marketers made substantially more coupons available to drive consumer purchases, and shoppers responded by upping their coupon use by about 20 percent during the first half of 2009. That double-digit growth in coupon use began during 2008’s fourth quarter, and coupon redemption has kept increasing since that time.

“Coupons are even more influential in consumer purchasing decisions today due to the economic downturn, as shoppers realize it’s the smart thing to do,” said Charles Brown, co-chair of the council, an advocacy group for coupons within the New York-based Promotion Marketing Association. “Both manufacturers and retailers are promoting at a greater pace to appeal to consumers who are seeking deals to stretch their budget and changing their spending habits in ways that are expected to continue permanently, even when the economy recovers.”

“Given the new frugality of American households brought on by the current economic hardship, the interest in finding new and additional ways to save is expected to continue,” added PMA Coupon Council Co-Chair Matthew Tilley. “Coupons are a perfect fit as a convenient way to save a good deal of money without a lot of effort. That’s something everyone likes to do, in good times and bad.”

Among the other recent coupon-related developments noted by the council:

--Consumers saved $3 billion using packaged goods coupons last year
--94 percent of the overall population said they’ve used coupons when shopping (for grocery, household and health care items), a rise of five share points
--89 percent of the overall population said they’ve made up a shopping list using coupons, up from the 78 percent who said they did so a year ago

“The typical family can easily save $1,000 annually by spending just 20 minutes a week seeking, clipping and organizing their coupons,” noted Brown. “If you do that every year for the next 30 or 40 years, that’s $30,000 or $40,000 at today’s value of money.”

September is National Coupon Month, which is sponsored by the PMA Coupon Council.