Internet Coupon Usage Up 83%, but Paper Still Rules

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Internet Coupon Usage Up 83%, but Paper Still Rules

Internet coupons are of increasing interest to consumers, according to a recent analysis by consumer and media measurement firm Scarborough Research. Eleven percent of households currently obtain coupons via the Internet, and this has increased 83 percent since 2005, the firm said.

However, the Sunday newspaper remains the number one source for coupons, with 53 percent of households getting their coupons there.

Other leading places for acquiring coupons include the mail (35 percent of households usually obtain coupons via the mail), in-store coupons (33 percent), preferred customer/loyalty cards (22 percent), in-store circulars (22 percent), weekday newspapers (17 percent), product packages (17 percent) and magazines (15 percent).

All of the categories of coupon acquisition have been growing since 2005, Scarborough said. "With prices for consumer goods rising, we can only expect that a 'good deal' is of increasing importance to shoppers," said Alisa Joseph, vice president, advertiser marketing services, Scarborough Research. "Coupons are one of several economically-focused promotional tools that stores and product brands can use to get shoppers in the door and spending despite these uncertain economic times. And, the Internet provides an easy to use vehicle to search for coupons."

Scarborough also examined what it called Grocery Coupon Clipping Households, or those households that use grocery coupons (specifically) once a week or more. The analysis found Milwaukee, WI and Rochester, NY are the leading U.S. markets for such households, with 40 percent of Milwaukee households and 38 percent of Rochester households using grocery coupons once a week or more. Nationally, 27 percent of households use grocery coupons with this same frequency.

People hailing from leading grocery coupon clipping cities also have higher than average Sunday newspaper readership rates.

Where are these consumers shopping? Grocery Coupon Clipping Households shop across categories, including supercenters such as SuperTarget, traditional grocers such as Kroger, and warehouse clubs such as Sam's Club, Scarborough found. However, they are average for shopping at Wal-Mart Supercenter, the grocery seller with the highest percentage of grocery shoppers nationally.

The Scarborough analysis also showed that Grocery Coupon Clipping Households tend to spend slightly more money on groceries weekly, $114, versus the national average of $110. They are more likely than the average household to purchase a variety of grocery products across categories - from pantry staples like coffee and ready-to-eat cereal to health items such as yogurt and energy/nutrition bars.

The demographic profile of Grocery Coupon Clipping Households illustrates that the appeal of coupons is wide-ranging, the research firm said. They are average for having children at home. People across all income brackets clip grocery coupons - however those with higher household incomes tend to be slightly more likely to clip grocery coupons.

Albuquerque, NM, El Paso, TX, and Fresno, CA are the markets least likely to have Grocery Coupon Clipping Households. Fourteen percent of Albuquerque households use grocery coupons once a week or more. Fifteen percent of those in El Paso and Fresno use grocery coupons with this same frequency.

Scarborough Research measures the lifestyle and shopping patterns, media behaviors and demographics of American consumers, and is considered the authority on local market research. The company is a joint venture between Arbitron Inc. and The Nielsen Company, which also owns Progressive Grocer.