The economy may have come back from the brink, but demand for digital coupons appears to be picking up steam, according to new data released by Coupons.com.
The company said savings from coupons printed out or loaded to a loyalty card from its online properties doubled to more than $1 billion from $529 million a year ago. The value of savings in June alone hit $110 million, the highest total to date for any single month via Coupons.com. That increase has come despite traffic to the site actually dropping in the last year from 18.2 million monthly visitors to 14.5 million.
"We expect more brands and more consumers to increasingly adopt digital coupons, and we foresee substantial growth across the entire digital domain -- with particular growth within social media and mobile environments," said Steven Boal, CEO of Coupons.com Inc., in a statement.
Coupons.com pointed to other recent research indicating a continuing upswing for digital coupons including a finding from NCH Marketing Services that the Internet was the fastest-growing distribution vehicle for coupons during the first half of 2010. Furthermore, it pointed to data from Google Insights this month showing that searches for "printable coupons" increased 67% over a year ago.
Separately, the number of digital print-at-home coupons is up 4% in the first half of 2010 compared to a year earlier -- despite coupon distribution overall being down 12%, according to coupon-processing company Inmar, which focuses on the consumer packaged goods category. Internet coupons still account for only 0.4% of all coupons distributed -- with free-standing inserts, or Sunday circulars, accounting for 88%.
The Internet now accounts for 2% of coupon redemptions, says Inmar, but redemption of printable coupons is down 50% in the first six months of 2010. Matthew Tilley, director of marketing for Inmar, attributes the drop-off in part to the 308% increase in the year-earlier period. "You're coming off some pretty high numbers from a year ago," he said.
He also noted that customers of Coupons.com and competing sites have shifted to saving discounts onto loyalty cards instead of printing out coupons. Both methods are included in the $1 billion total in redemption value that Coupons.com is reporting for the first six months of the year.
The Web company's findings also underscore the surprising affluence of digital coupon users.
A survey conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Coupons.com earlier this year found that people who print digital coupons have an estimated average household income of $96,000, 14% than the U.S average. Part of the reason could be that lower-income households don't have computers to retrieve and print coupons from.
When it comes to product categories, women's apparel and shoes was the top coupon segment, followed by home and garden, men's apparel and shoes, toys and hobbies and computers and software. Geographically, users in Midwestern and Southern states were the most active digital coupon clippers, with Georgia leading on both the Web browser and via Coupons.com's mobile apps.
The company says that the vast majority of coupons are printed (or saved to a loyalty card) on the PC-based Web compared to mobile apps.