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Personal Care Manufacturers Lead Record Half-Year for FSI Coupons

NEW YORK -- In a sign that manufacturers have upped the ante on their coupon promotions, FSI coupon use was on the rise in the first half of the year, led by a 15.7 percent jump in personal care product coupons, according to the latest Marx FSI Trend Report issued yesterday.

During the first six months of 2005, more than 136 billion coupons were delivered via Free Standing Inserts (FSIs) in Sunday newspapers, up 2.3 percent from the same period one year ago, the report said. That is the largest number of FSI coupons distributed in any half year since 1995, when Marx Promotion Intelligence, a New York-based coupon tracking firm, began tracking the FSI industry.

FSIs saw growth in two other key measures, according to the report: Total pages increased 5.9 percent, while average coupon face values grew 6.7 percent, to $1.09. Additionally, the average offer duration, which has trended downward over the past several years, increased to 10.6 weeks.

"The key metrics for the FSI show a medium in full-growth mode," said Mark Nesbitt, c.o.o. at Marx Promotion Intelligence/TNS Media Intelligence. "As marketers assess different media, they are finding FSIs provide impression value and reach, while delivering consumer incentive and brand messaging."

The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) sector remains the largest user of FSI pages, and posted a 3.4 percent increase in page activity through the first half of 2005.

Coupons for non-food items jumped 11.8 percent. Two segments saw double-digit increases in coupons dropped versus the same period in 2004: personal care, up 15.7 percent, and health care, which increased 11.8 percent.

Conversely, food item coupons declined 7.9 percent. Activity in dry grocery, the largest segment of the food sector, declined 10.9 percent, due to decreases in the candy and soup categories, according to the report.

Average face values of coupons rose in both the non-food and food segments. Non-food average face values increased 4 percent, to $1.31, while the average face value of food items increased 5.3 percent, to $.80. The largest increases were in household products, up 11.5 percent, shelf stable beverages, up 6.7 percent, and dry grocery, up 6.6 percent.

Marx Promotion Intelligence, based in New York, is a division of TNS Media Intelligence.
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