The coupon industry is seeing a shift in how they are used and who uses them. Traditionally, women were the biggest coupon users, clipping them from the local newspaper and redeeming them at the grocery store for items like cereal, canned vegetables and cleaning supplies.
Coupons aren’t just for grocery shopping anymore and they appeal to a wider audience. According to NCH Marketing Services Mid Year 2012 Coupon Facts Report, even though coupon usage has fallen 17% in the last year, there was an increase of younger people and men cashing them in, as well as an increase in digital coupons.
The new wave of coupons are a little different though. Stores like Kroger make it simple to log into their site, click coupons they wish to add to their loyalty card, add them to the card with the click of a button and redeem them for instant savings when their card is swiped at the store. This eliminates the need to cut and keep track of paper coupons.
That’s just one example. Walk into a clothing store and the salesperson might urge you to text something to receive an instant percent off coupon. Subscribe to an email marketing list and receive discounts on your next visit to your local auto shop, groomer or spa.
Factor in the daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial and how they have changed the coupon industry. Instead of being embarrassed to put out a paper coupon, users were suddenly proud to cash in their vouchers and get a good deal.
Social media has added another way to access and share coupons. In fact, according to the How Big is the Coupon Industry infographic, 47% of women and 33% of men use social media sites as their main source for coupons.
So why are people so attracted to these deals? The main reason is the economy. During a recession and at a time when people are either unemployed or are uncertain about their financial future, it helps to be frugal and save a few bucks.
The future of coupons will likely include pop-ups on your smartphone as you walk by certain businesses. The goal is to make finding and using them easier than ever.