Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Online couponing finally takes off as recession drives up coupon usage; mobile coupons the logical next step

Coupons are back in a big way. Over $3.5 billion dollars in coupons were redeemed by U.S. consumers last year, a 27 percent increase, the first increase in coupon usage in 17 years, according to Inmar, a division of NewsAmerica Marketing.

Although the rate of newspaper coupons insertions rose last year, online coupons grew at an even faster pace.  "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 Steven Boal, CEO of Coupons.com.

Coupons.com claims that online couponing grew ten times faster than printed coupons in 2009. "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,” said Boal.

Sunday inserts have been one of the areas of revenue rarely discussed by journalists as they discuss the future of their profession. When combined with classified advertising, the non-display advertising in newspapers used to account for over 50 percent of all advertising revenue, and even more when circulation revenue was added in.  Newspapers, hit hard by the rapid decline is classified advertising, have seen their coupon inserts fall as well -- making last year's increase especially welcome.

Yet online, the emphasis often remains on banners and buttons, rather than non-display and non-endemic categories of advertising. As a results, newspapers (and magazines) have opened themselves up, yet again, to be poached by the new companies entering the marketplace.

Later this afternoon I'll look at mobile couponing companies such as Yowza!! and MobileCoupons.com. These companies offer smart phone users a way to retrieve local coupons while they are out and about.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

It is true that ease of use is one of the factors in the digital coupon and its comeback, but most people can use the savings no matter how they get to them. In our home we use a service that allows us to download coupons right onto various credit, debit and store brand cards that take the savings off at the checkstand and also allow us to track total savings. I would like to see all retailers and others get this service going. It is much needed as can be seen by last years coupon stats!!!