Can National Coupon Month celebrations reverse a six-month decline in coupon redemptions?
Shoppers who clip and click on coupons for just 20 minutes a week stand to save more than $1,000 a year, according to the PMA, the Association for Integrated Marketing, which has celebrated National Coupon Month in September since 1998. Can this year’s event reverse the recent decline in coupon redemption?
Shopping discounts no doubt appeal to Millionaire investors who count frugality – along with hard work, education and smart investing – as their top wealth-building factors, according to Millionaire Corner research. But, a look at trends for the first-half of 2012 shows that interest is moving away from coupons, an American tradition since Coca-Cola issued a hand-written coupon in 1887.
Coupon redemptions have fallen 11 percent in the first half of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, ending five years of steadily increasing redemptions, according to a new report from Inmar Promotions Network. Redemptions increased by 35 percent between 2006 and 2011.
The recent decline in coupons has occurred across all categories and types of coupons, according to the Inmar report. Food and non-food coupon redemption fell 11 percent and 15 percent, respectively, while Internet print-at-home redemptions are down 24 percent and free-standing insert (FSI) coupon redemptions are down 14 percent.
Several factors are contributing to the trend, including a decline in coupon promotions and less attractive coupon offers. Coupon face values are 9.3 percent lower in the second quarter of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, and coupon redemption periods are shorter. At the same time, store brand, or private label sales, have been steadily increasing and appear to be an easy choice for cost-conscious consumers. A slight dip in unemployment may also be at play. Inmar research shows that “when unemployment is down, coupon use is down.”
Will frugality fade in an improving economy? Not likely, according to Inmar, which says, “It's clear that the consumer’s inherent desire for a deal is not showing any signs of fading. It’s the role of coupons and other promotions that appears to be changing.”
The company anticipates a 5 percent to 10 percent decline in coupon redemption for the year, as frugal Millionaires and other shoppers turn to store brand promotions and other opportunities to save while they spend.