Scarborough: Calling Mobile Coupons
Overall, Sunday newspapers still dominate, with 51% of households surveyed obtaining coupons there, with in-store coupons coming in second at 35%, mailed coupons third at 31% and loyalty card programs fourth at 21%. Other significant non-digital sources included in-store circulars (20%), weekday newspapers (17%), coupons included in product packaging (16%) and magazines (15%).
From a small initial base, virtual coupons have registered impressive gains over the last few years. Currently, Scarborough says 8.6 million households get coupons via text messages or email, equaling about 8% of U.S. households; 7% get their coupons from Web sites.
The demographic characteristics of digital coupon users are also quite attractive. Consumers who get coupons via email or text messages are 51% more likely than the mainstream population to be college graduates (or hold a post-graduate degree) and also skew younger.
Scarborough, which collected the data as part of its new local research service, identified the top markets for virtual coupons, finding roughly equal rates (11% of households) in markets with large populations of young people, including Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, San Diego and Washington, D.C. Providence, Rhode Island was slightly higher, with 12% of households using virtual coupons.
It's worth noting that as college towns, most of these cities are home to large numbers of tech-savvy young adults. Out of a total population of 175,000, Providence -- home to Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, and other post-secondary schools -- has about 44,000 students (25%), most between the ages of 18-24.
Likewise, Austin -- with a population of about 760,000 -- is home to the University of Texas at Austin as well as numerous community colleges and seminaries, with a combined student population approaching 100,000, or 13% of the total.