The majority of U.S. coupon users -- 54% -- now get their fill of deals online, according to a new report by ICOM, a division of direct marketing agency Epsilon.
The vast majority of respondents -- 78% -- report printing out an online coupon at least once in their lives. "Especially in challenging economic times, consumers are budget-minded and coupons can drive purchases and create brand loyalty," said Brian Rainey, president of Epsilon Targeting.
Still, 80% of U.S. respondents report receiving their coupons in newspapers, and 69% said they prefer receiving coupons by mail. Therefore, "a multichannel strategy that incorporates preferences and behavior will provide the best results," the study suggests. Overall, of the 3,692 U.S. consumers surveyed, 28% report using coupons more than once per week -- up from 24% in 2008.
The main reasons consumers cited for preferring coupons by postal mail included: "they are ready to use right away," and "they are more convenient" and "easy to use." The main reasons cited for preferring email or online coupons included "I can print the coupons I want to use," and "there is less waste if I only print coupons that are being used." The main reason for non-redemption of online coupons continues to be the same from 2008 and 2010 surveys: "never found any online coupons that I wanted."
When asked how their current coupon use compared to a year ago, 43% of U.S. respondents said they used more coupons year-over-year.
Not surprisingly, a full 80% of U.S. respondents related their increased coupon usage to an effort "to save money due to the recession." Also of note, 54% attributed their increased usage to receiving "more coupons that are useful to me."
When asked about their likelihood to use coupons even with the end of the economic recession, 27% said they are much more likely to use coupons, and 21% said they are somewhat more likely to use coupons. Only 1% of respondents said they are much less likely to use coupons.
"These findings may indicate a lasting change in the psyche of consumers with regard to how they shop and spend as a result of the challenging economic times," the report speculates.