Coupons Remain Valued Promotion in Today’s Digital World:
Shopper Survey       

By John Karolefski

In today’s digital world of online shopping and virtual assistants, is there is still room for traditional coupons? The answer is a resounding “Yes,” according to shoppers responding to the 2017 RedPlum Purse String Survey from Valassis.

The most overwhelming grocery-related theme stemming from the survey is the appetite for deals, with 95 percent of respondents desiring coupons for grocery items. And the opportunity to save guides many consumers’ shopping plans with 51 percent planning around circulars, coupons and deals more often since last year.

“As the grocery landscape continues to evolve, our research insights will help both small and large grocers stay in tune with shopper preferences,” said Curtis Tingle, Chief Marketing Officer, Valassis. “Digital disruption remains a prevalent theme today, and the more grocers can focus on providing value to consumers in new as well as proven ways, the more success they’ll experience. This includes offering coupons via every channel – including print.”

Findings from the online survey of 8,550 value-seeking consumers indicate that shoppers are more likely to buy groceries online if they can use more coupons (57 percent; 73 percent for Millennials).

Slightly more than half of all respondents (53 percent) and 62 percent of Millennials invest over two hours each week looking for coupons, deals and savings from all sources. A quarter of all Millennials and Moms spend over 4 hours each week in these activities.

Since last year:

  • 57 percent (and 61 percent Millennials) use more coupons
  • 41 percent use more mobile coupons/apps
  • 51 percent plan shopping around circulars, coupons and deals.

The research found that coupons are not just for stock-up and routine shopping trips. One of three respondents (33 percent) say they use coupons when purchasing for immediate needs.

Four of ten survey respondents (41 percent) and nearly half of Millennials (47 percent) save more than $30 per week using coupons These shoppers use coupons in different ways:

  • 52 percent print out digital coupons for use in stores, compared to 51 percent in 2016.
  • 51 percent use mostly print coupons, compared to 52 percent in 2016
  • 41 percent use print and digital coupons equally, compared to 35 percent doing so last year.

The research found that shoppers save via mobile in five ways:
  • Print a digital coupon/offer (45 percent)
  • Redeem a coupon code (52 percent)
  • Use a savings app (56 percent)
  • Download coupon to loyalty card (53 percent)
  • Compare deals online and in-store (39 percent).

Tingle said it is clear consumers prioritize savings and consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers recognize the importance of their behavior. In the first half of 2017, $326 billion of savings across print and digital CPG coupons were issued to consumers. That represents an average of $2 per coupon, an increase of more than 10 percent overall from first half 2016 to first half 2017, according to NCH Marketing Services, a Valassis subsidiary.

Besides coupon usage, the study showed that consumers are just getting their feet wet with meal-kit delivery (16 percent) and grocery delivery services (17 percent). However, around 40 percent of respondents plan to use more of these services next year. Additionally, the survey uncovered that half of shoppers are interested in trying in-home virtual assistant devices to purchase groceries or other household items.

The survey was fielded on from May 15 through June 15, 2017. Findings are based on responses from 8,550 consumers. Eighty-two percent of respondents defined themselves as promotion sensitive – aware of sales, coupons and discounts. This consumer survey has been conducted nine times since 2008 with a focus on consumer shopping and saving behaviors across a variety of product categories.

                                               Mid-October 2017