Commentary

Waiting for the Mobile Coupon Revolution

We know from many studies that mobile shoppers can be swayed by a deal.

Many of these mobile deals come in the form of digital coupons, though most people tend not yet to use them.

And based on much of the reader reaction to a piece I wrote last week about a snapshot study chiding the effectiveness of printed circulars  (Mobile Coupons & the Waning Impact of Printed Circulars), I’m guessing there may be some who don’t lean in the mobile coupon direction.

Since then, a new survey has been completed showing that while mobile coupons don’t dominate the deal landscape, they are clearly on the rise.

The survey, conducted by The Ombibus Company for RetailMeNot, the digital coupon app company, found that almost all (92%) of consumers use coupons.

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And as you might guess, printable coupons still are the most used (60%), followed by online coupons (29%) with mobile coupons at a distant third place (10%).

As to who uses which type, those older than 35 lean to printable coupons (70%) compared to those 18-to-34 years old (44%). That last group is three times as likely as those older to use mobile coupons most often.

During a stint teaching marketing research at a university business school a while back, I would regularly query the undergrads, mostly seniors and marketing majors, about their information gathering habits. None ever reported reading newspapers.

A similar pattern may emerge around mobile coupons with the mobile-empowered consumer of the future expecting that deals will come via mobile.

The coupon deals also don’t have to be large, according to the survey. Almost half (43%) of consumers consider discounts of 25% or less to be a good deal. About a quarter (26%) saw 1% to 24% as a good deal.

While it may not take much to incent a purchase, mobile can add a sense of context, since a coupon can be delivered to the right location and at the right time.

So it looks like for now, printed circulars will keep coming in the mail and printed coupons will continue to roll on.

Mobile is not king in the coupon market. Yet.

5 comments about "Waiting for the Mobile Coupon Revolution".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, September 9, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.

    In my case, the "right location and at the right time" to use coupons is when my wife is shopping with me - I can't be bothered if I'm by myself - and how will mobile know that?

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, September 9, 2013 at 11:22 a.m.

    Now that is a good question, Pete. Not sure we're close to that yet.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 9, 2013 at 11:52 a.m.

    Coupons on phones is another phase of dependency. Who profits ? Who loses ? in the overall picture, especially a few years from now when corporations depend more and more on your dependency.

  4. William Sears from [x+1], September 9, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.

    After reading both articles, I have one thought: There is an app for this. Apps are the best answer today, they make mobile navigation easier, permit experience and offer customization, encourage loyalty, and enable the data collection to prove it works. Apps can also solve the technical barrier of how to redeem. Anyone downloaded the new Costco app recently? No more coupons needed there. These are the reasons we at [x+1] have invested in integrating mobile into our Digital Hub.

  5. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, September 9, 2013 at 11:03 p.m.

    True, William, but not all would download an app

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