Recession Promotes Coupon Usage...
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(CNN) -- The rising price of company’s 40-year history.
consumer goods is driving
Economic shock gives rise to coupon cutting
shoppers from all walks of life to “People might say coupons are
Strickhouser said specific figures
use Story Highlights for food, beauty necessities related to usage is proprietary
coupons just for tightwads, but people
Shoppers are turning to coupons for deals on luxuries and
aidsEntertainment.com services such as products atup 153dining in 2008
and pharmacypercent more coupons for casual percent from all kinds of economic
information and unavailable for
users print 198
Use of coupons for oil changes, dry-cleaning
an increasing rate,upaccording backgrounds are more likely to
release, but said the number
quot;Couponingquot; at big box retailers 14 percent, even as restrictions increase
to some of the country’s largest use them,” Strickhouser said. “It’s
represents a significant surge
By Emanuella Grinberg
purveyors of manufacturers’ good sense to use them.”
in consumer response in the
coupons.price of consumer of the country's largest purveyors of manufacturers' coupons. for food, beauty aids and pharmacy products at
(CNN) -- The rising goods is driving shoppers from all walks of life to use coupons
an increasing rate, according to some
Consumers from several In mid-2006, consumers
economic backgrounds are bucked a 15-year period
The once-popular act of coupon cutting -- introduced by the inventor of Coca-Cola syrup more than 100 years ago -- is again becoming a household
clipping coupons.less, they aren't necessarily cutting back on necessities or luxuries. Instead, consumers are hunting for deals of decline by redeeming
coup t they u e brand
While people may be looking to spend
2.6 billion manufacturers’
on where to dry-clean their clothes, get their oil changed or take the family out to dinner, said MaryAnn Rivers, CEO of Entertainment Publications,
y...and a 198 percenton t in the
which publishes community-based coupon books and Web sites.
Consumers from coupons.
several for casual or quot;quick-servequot; meals since last year.
Rivers said the company's site has seen a 153 percent increase in the use of coupons for day-to-day necessities
economic has slowed down, they're just looking to save more often,quot; said Rivers,twhosea ly buy! sold in schools and k up” on
use of coupons
ns o publication is activities “I think that what we’re
oThey are trading down fromoften and moving into more
backgroundsa fundraising tool. quot;We're getting back to basics withup ey usua
quot;It doesn't appear activity
co people. seeing is a behavioral
community organizations as
arecompanies are also seeing gains. Florida-based Valpak, whose signature bluetenvelopes land in about 45 millionthomesm year, hasy!
e he eachy bu seen
clipping change in the consumer
y us products ll a
use of its coupons increase 8 percent since last year for products such as groceries, take-out food, theimprovement usu and specialty retail.
coupons. that could have lasting
quot;Coupons motivate customers when they're looking at different stores that offer the same goods. They're s effects. If you shift
nd more likely to go with a storew offers
The once- buying patterns and
coupons,quot; Valpak spokeswoman Marsha Strickhouser said.
popular specific figures related to usage is proprietary information and unavailable for release,hemthe number represents a significant
Strickhouser said act of enjoy benefits of
t but said
uctlikely to use them,quot; Strickhousertsaid.
surge in consumer response in the company's 40-year history.
coupon cutting doing that, you will
prod tha !
rand or them
-- introduced likely continue in that
quot;People might say coupons are just for tightwads, but people from all kinds of economic backgrounds are more
by theconsumers bucked a 15-year period of decline by redeeming 2.6 billion manufacturers' coupons. try a nsive” f
quot;It's good sense to use them.quot;
In mid-2006, inventor pattern,” he said.
of Coca-Cola remained consistent, with redemption at mass merchandisingtstores m oo expeTarget up 11 percent since
se h y t as Wal-Mart and “For the marketer,
syrup more thanco-chair of the Promotion Marketing Association's Coupon all ore o
Since then, the numbers have such
it’s an opportunities
2007, according to Charles Brown,
y m of ould
100 years ago also has risen in dollar stores and convenience marts by 14 percent since last to buas the usewcoupons as a
quot;Couponing,quot; as Brown calls it, -- is to bring in more
e the t than th
again becoming a customers and get
marketing tool has declined in the packaged goods arena.
household chore. them to try new
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Recession drives consumers
are hunting for deals on
where to dry-clean their clothes,
to Coupons for Savings
get their oil changed or take the
family out to dinner, said MaryAnn
Rivers, CEO of Entertainment In a rough economy, frugal shoppers third-most-popular strategy.
Publications. are turning to coupons. comScore’s
“State of the US Online Retail In an October 2008 survey of 2,000
“Coupons motivate customers Economy: Q3 2008” report said that female Internet users ages 18
when they’re looking at different 62% of responding US consumers and older by SheSpeaks, 76% of
stores that offer the same goods. who were decreasing their shopping respondents reported sharing offline
They’re more likely to go with expenses in October 2008 were using coupons found in magazines, direct
a store that offers coupons,” coupons more often to do so—the mail or newspapers with their friends.
Excerpts from eMarketer Inc. 2009
Valpak spokeswoman Marsha
As Times Get Tougher,
Consumers Turn to Coupons
Martinez does even better on health and beauty items at two major drug chains, CVS and Walgreen,
Published: March 16, 2009 12:54 PM ET
bringing her monthly average overall savings close to 70 percent. On Jan. 10, a receipt showed that she
paid just $1.05 for $45.45 worth of goods at Walgreens, having combined store coupons providing credits
FORT WORTH, Texas Gwen Martinez is buying more
for the entire price of an item with coupons
groceries and health and beauty products than ever
clipped from the newspaper for the same
before — but spending less. Like a growing number
of Americans in this economic downturn, 29-year-
old Martinez is a relatively recent convert to clipping
The savings allow her to spend more on
coupons from newspapers and in-store circulars and
EE in n
food and healthcare goods than before, and
finding them online.
to pay down some credit card bills.
“I am saving about 69 percent overall,” said the
Stephanie Nelson of couponmom.com
Arlington, Texas, medical secretary, who began in
claims that a family of four can save $100
August after a fellow customer at a Walgreens checkout
a week on groceries by clipping coupons.
gave the cashier a handful of coupons, immediately
Sa Cou Since 75 percent of grocery coupons
saving her $10.
come from the Sunday newspaper, she
recommends buying two or three copies to
Martinez was hooked, and she’s far from alone.
save dramatically, then scan the Internet
“Coupon clipping is for more. And some manufacturers are
sweetening the deal.
definitely up,” said Mark Adamcik, 45,
to Last year, multiple-purchase requirements
an Albertsons store manager who’s worked more than
on health and beauty coupons dropped to 6
two decades for the chain and its predecessor, Skaggs.
percent, from 11 percent in 2007. Moreover,
expiration dates were lengthened, the
“As the economy tightens average period rising to 2.8 months from
2.6 months, said NCH’s Brown. But the
up, it makes coupons opposite was true for grocery coupons,
which saw expiration dates reduced to 2.3
more appealing.” months in 2008 from 2.4 the year before.
Multiple-purchase requirements decreased,
but only by a tad, to 35 from 37 percent.
Coupon use rose 15
The average value of
percent in the last three
a coupon distributed
months of 2008, compared with
today is $1.29,
the same period of 2007, said Charlie Brown, vice
president of marketing at NCH, the redemption unit
NCH’s Brown said.
of Livonia, Mich.-based Valassis, which invented the
Sunday newspaper coupon sections and owns Red
in Coupon use and private-label purchases
Plum, one of two big coupon companies. And
tend to rise during tougher economic times
a typical year, Americans many people
redeem $3 billion worth look for ways to
of coupons, with fewer and fewer finding save money, said Larson,
themselves too embarrassed to pull out wads of
adding that consumers might also have
coupons or lug in baseball card albums choked with
more time on their hands to clip and sort.
coupons for breakfast cereal and canned soup.
Larson rattled off the grocery coupon’s
various effects: They draw attention to a
“There’s less negative stigma attached to coupon use
product, lower its price for past buyers and
during slower economic times,” said Ron Larson, a
attract new ones, generate consumer “pull”
marketing professor at Haworth College of Business at
during soft sales periods, remind even
Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.
nonclippers of the product’s existence,
create a marketing synergy benefit when
Nearly coupled with in-store specials, and they limit
A recent survey bears that out. growth of private-label competitors. Despite
57 percent of 3,013 the manufacturers’ desire to snare a steady buyer with a coupon offer, Martinez says she no longer
becomes loyal to a particular brand. “I’m a sale kind of girl,” she said. Her grocery cart included a mix
consumers surveyed nationwide in December of national and private-label brands, including a loaf of Albertsons budget Good Day sandwich loaf. The
Minnesota-born Martinez alternates between Kroger and Albertsons, depending on the weekly specials.
admitted that they were once self-conscious Both are convenient on her commuting route. And both double and triple the value of many coupons.
Typically, the big-box discounters like Wal-Mart and Target discount only the face value.
about handing over grocery coupons but no Although some coupons carry fine print saying they cannot be combined with other offers, she learned
longer care because of the money they’re saving, from Internet couponing forums that most stores don’t mind. On Thursday, Albertsons staff said they
had no objection if the computerized scanning system accepted them. “Cheese was a really good deal,”
according to a study by ICOM Information & Communications, a provider of marketing data. Twenty-two
Martinez said. Combining offers allowed her to apply an in-store flier coupon putting a $5 sale price on
percent said they were still uncomfortable using the coupons.
three 8-ounce packages of Kraft-brand cheese along with a newspaper coupon and another won in an
online contest. The combination reduced her cost to 50 cents apiece. The usual retail price of an 8-ounce
Forty-three percent said they’ve used coupons packet at Albertsons is $2.50. While few supermarkets make much, if anything, on savvy coupon users
like Martinez, she wouldn’t be there without the tiny slips of paper. Before August, most of her groceries
more in the past six months, it said. were purchased at Sam’s Club. “But I stopped after I began couponing, and find I get better deals
at supermarkets with coupons,” said Martinez, noting that coupons don’t help much in the large bulk
quantities at a wholesale club store like Sam’s.
Manufacturers of brand-name food products, under pressure from supermarket chains’ cheaper private-
label items, bought about 5 percent more coupons in the fourth quarter of 2008 to promote their goods at
“It was my most
a time when cost-conscious American families are eating more home-prepared meals, said Suzie Brown “Frankly, I used to hate grocery shopping,” she went on.
(no relation to the NCH executive), chief of marketing at Valassis.
dreaded chore until I started coupon-clipping.
On a recent Thursday evening, Martinez entered an Albertsons in Hurst, Texas, with a shoebox-sized,
purple plastic box containing more than a thousand coupons sorted by category, and picked up the weekly
“Now it’s an adventure
store circular with a front-page of more coupons. Less than 30 minutes later she wheeled her cart toward
cashier Cinda Atkins’ checkout lane with $103.08 worth of groceries. After her coupons were scanned,
Martinez said, “This is my favorite part.” Atkins calls out that the cost was reduced to $61.49 — a savings
and a challenge.”
of $41.59 or slightly more than 40 percent. The customer next in line, who waited patiently as 40 coupons
were scanned, shook his head in amazement.