FSI Coupon Incentives Continue To Grow

According to a new study from Kantar Media, consumers were offered more than $515 billion in consumer incentives through Free Standing Insert (FSI) coupons in 2015, an increase of 3.7% compared to the previous year. Although the total number of pages distributed fell by 8.1% due in part to decreases in FSI pages that don’t include coupons, the number of coupons circulated increased nominally versus the prior year, and combined with higher face value led to growth in dollars circulated.

Free Standing Inserts


2015 vs. 2014



% Change

Dollars Circulated

$515 billion


Coupons Dropped

286 billion


Pages Distributed

186 billion


Face Value (average)



Fuse (weeks)



Source: Kantar Media

Lisa Ekstedt, Director of Custom Solutions, says “… manufacturers and retailers are fine-tuning their respective strategies… print coupons still remain a critical promotional tool… being used more efficiently… fewer pages being distributed… (but) more coupons per page containing higher value offers… manufacturers… limiting their financial exposure… reducing expiration lengths… still benefiting from the advertising impact of the FSI coupon…”

FSI coupon events were distributed on 47 of the 52 Sundays in 2015. The “New Year” promotion week of January 4th had the greatest activity with a weighted average circulation of 126 pages. The week of March 1st, illustrating the importance of aligning with primary monthly pay cycles and the “pre-Super Bowl” promotion week of January 25th, were the second and third most heavily weighted weeks

Non-Food categories distributed more than 197 billion coupons, up 3.3% versus a year ago, driven by an 8.2% increase in Health Care and a 19.8% increase in Other Packaged Goods (such as Batteries, Car Care, Markers, etc.) areas.  Non-Food has had steady growth in Coupons Dropped with increases each year for the past four years. Non-Food categories increased the overall share of Coupons Dropped by 2 points to 69% in 2015.

Food categories distributed more than 89 billion coupons, a 5.9% decrease from last year, led by the 17.8% decline for the Frozen Foods area. The average number of coupons per page for CPG products increased for the first time in five years from 1.8 coupons per page to 2.0.

Food vs. Non-Food Coupon Trends (2015 vs. 2014)


Coupons Dropped (2015; mm)

Chg. vs. 2014

Avg Face Value (2015)

Chg. vs. 2014











Total CPG





Source: Kantar Media, January 2016

Manufacturers are increasing the value of the offers being delivered to shoppers in both the Non-Food and Food segments.  For the Non-Food segment, Weighted Average Face Value, the average of the dollar values actually shown on the coupon, increased 1.6% to $2.08, while values within the Food segment increased 5.0%. FSI coupon offers requiring the purchase of multiple items to redeem the coupon declined to represent 25.9% of total offers within the CPG segment, the lowest level of Multiple Purchase offers observed since 2010.

Overall, retail pages distributed decreased 24.9% in 2015. The top ten retailers represented 80.8% share of the total retail promotion pages distributed. Four of the top ten retailers increased FSI Pages Circulated in 2015, while the remaining six of the top ten each had sharp declines.

Ekstedt said “… Walmart’s focus on new and exclusive offers, and Target’s focus on their Cartwheel app to distribute offers, contributed to the decline in overall retailer pages circulated versus the peak year, 2014… ”

Change in Retailer Pages Circulated


% Change 2015 vs. 2014







Dollar General


Family Dollar


CVS Pharmacy


Kroger (banner)






Rite Aid


Source: Kantar Media

 “… trends show that FSI coupons continue to be an important part of the CPG manufacturer tool box…” concluded Ekstedt.

Copies of the 13th annual FSI Distribution Trends Report available by request through the Kantar Media website at:Marx FSI Trends.


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