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[New Research] Just How Many People are Using Coupons?

12/22/17 9:00 AM


Death, taxes, and coupons. Which of these isn’t inevitable?

The battle for coupons has risen to new heights. Google reports that the search for “coupon code” has almost tripled since 2004. But what hasn’t changed over the years is the consumer’s desire to save money and realize a value. According to research from Hawk Incentives, 97 percent of consumers have sought deals when they shop, and 92 percent say they are “always” looking. So not surprisingly, coupons are as enticing as they were a few decades ago.

What follows is some more research delving into the question of whether people still use coupons—and the answer is definitely yes.

Coupons Remain Popular

Survey after survey points to the same trend: Americans still use coupons. A 2014 report by RetailMeNot puts the number at a whopping 96 percent. And with multiple dynamic channels available to deliver coupons—from register tape advertising to custom printed receipts to mobile options—consumers don’t even have to clip coupons from the newspaper or a saver magazine to find valuable deals.

The impetus behind the continued popularity of coupons is twofold. First, as already mentioned, saving money still matters to people, even almost a decade after the last recession. Second, shoppers who use coupons come away from the experience with a sense of achievement. Hawk Incentives found that 40 percent of coupon users feel smarter when they take advantage of a deal. The same survey also discovered that 40 percent or respondents don’t want to leave money on the table.

Crossing Economic Lines

Conventional wisdom would suggest that coupon use is reserved to people making less money—families who theoretically stand to benefit more from the savings realized by a deal. However, that’s simply not the case. According to Hawk, 86 percent of households making $200,000 look for deals, compared to 85 percent of people making $100,000-$149,000 and 87 percent in the $20,000-$39,000 range. This finding mirrors previous research that revealed consumers in higher economic brackets were more likely to use coupons.

Delving deeper into the demographics, Baby Boomers (age 55 and older) are most likely to use coupons, at an impressive 96 percent, according to a study by PRRI. However, Generation X (ages 35-54) and Millennials (ages 18-34) are not far behind at 91 percent and 87 percent, respectively. This data reinforces the notion that coupon advertising is far from dead and, in fact, is cementing its place with new generations of consumers.

Register Tape Research

Printed coupons remain a powerful means for restaurants, salons, auto shops, dry cleaners, and other local businesses to attract new customers, encourage existing customers to return, and build a loyal clientele.

Perhaps the most dynamic means to deliver these deals to local shoppers is via register tape advertising—the placement of coupons on the back of grocery store receipts. People buy groceries several times a month; with register tape advertising, your coupon is handed directly to these consumers every time they make a purchase.

We wanted to learn more about shoppers’ behavior with this impactful coupon medium, so we commissioned a survey. The results were enlightening:

  • 70 percent of respondents remember receiving a receipt at the grocery store.
  • Two-thirds of respondents placed the receipt with coupons in their wallet or purse.
  • 87 percent recall seeing coupons on the back of the receipt.
  • Quick oil changes, pizza, fast food, car washes, and dry cleaners were the most recalled offers (in that order).
  • 64 percent of respondents were interested in receipt coupons because of the medium’s ease of use.

Numbers such as these show that people will use coupons—as long as you can get those coupons to them. Register tape advertising can be your perfect means for that delivery.

How enthusiastically do your customers use coupons?


Anna Ruby

Written by Anna Ruby

Marketing Analyst. Theatre nerd. Dog-lover. Obstacle course-racer. Small business owner.