Report: Number of FSI Coupons Exceeds 250 Billion in 2004

NEW YORK -- Coupon use was on the rise in 2004 as 251 billion coupons were distributed within newspaper Free-Standing Inserts (FSIs) -- a 7.7 percent increase compared with 2003, according to the annual Marx FSI Trend Report. The report estimates that more than 850 FSI coupons were issued for every U.S. citizen, with potential per-person savings of nearly $1,000.

"FSI coupons traditionally account for the majority of all couponing in the United States," noted Mark Nesbitt, c.o.o. at Marx Promotion Intelligence/TNS Media Intelligence, in a statement. "We are continuing to see an increase in the number of FSI coupons distributed as coupons remain a critical piece of a brand's overall marketing campaign."

The consumer packaged goods sector remains the largest user of FSI coupons, accounting for two-thirds of all FSI page activity and the majority of FSI coupons distributed, according to the report. Over the past five years, couponing for nonfood products such as household items and health and beauty aids has increased significantly and now surpasses couponing for food products.

Nine of the top 10 couponing brands in 2004 were nonfood items, a trend led by a surge of new product introductions within the oral care, cosmetic, and household cleaning categories.

Procter & Gamble, General Mills, and Unilever were the top FSI coupon advertisers in 2004, according to the report. Overall the top 20 packaged goods companies accounted for nearly 60 percent of all coupons distributed. The top 10 consisted of a nearly even split of food and nonfood producers.

The franchise business sector accounts for 11 percent of all page distribution, with more focus on special price point-type offers in addition to coupons among restaurant ads. Growth in the franchise sector exceeds that for CPG, with 2004 registering 21 percent growth over 2003. "The expansion of franchise FSIs has been driven in part by increased restaurant activity and the wider acceptance of FSIs as a cost-efficient marketing vehicle for restaurants to get their messages out," said Wallace Marx Jr., director of marketing.

The Marx FSI Trend Report was developed by Marx Promotion Intelligence, a division of TNS Media Intelligence.
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