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Coupon use among highest socio-economic demographics spikes: Harris

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October 22, 2009

RetailMeNot.com is all about coupons

RetailMeNot.com is all about coupons

The results of the Second Annual Benchmark Survey on Consumer Coupon Behavior found that the use of coupon Web sites is on the rise, most notably among the highest education and income brackets.

The survey, which polled 2,175 online adults 18-plus within the United States, measured trends in online shopping and coupon usage and was conducted by Harris Interactive commissioned by RetailMeNot.com, a consumer destination on the wired and mobile Web for coupons, discounts and promotional codes for merchandise, groceries, travel and services. The survey found that coupons are the deciding factor in the purchases of a growing number of consumers. 

“There is not one set group that is using online coupons, and coupon use is on the rise amongst the highest education and income brackets,” said Miranda Coykendall, spokeswoman for RetailMeNot.com, Melbourne, Australia. “In addition to the spread across education and income brackets, there is a large geographic spread—the most users are in Midwest.

“All together, the study showed that even with the economy seeing economic gains, coupon use is continuing to increase,” she said. “Coupons are having a large impact on today’s shoppers.

“We found that many shoppers are defining their spending habits based on whether or not retailers offer coupons.”

The survey found that consumers are continuing to spend less in the current economy.

Nearly half of online adults—45 percent—plan to spend less money on gifts this holiday season compared to last holiday season, the same percentage as in 2008, indicating a consistent, significant downward trend in spending.

To save money, 62 percent of online adults look for coupons for online stores, and 12 percent never make a purchase without checking an online coupon website first, a notable jump from 8 percent last year.

Consumers are more aware of their spending than ever and are very active in trying to find the best deals, according to RetailMeNot.com.

As a result, more and more merchants are embracing coupons as a way to connect with their budget-conscious shoppers.

Retailers that do not offer discounts not only jeopardize customer loyalty but could take a significant hit to the bottom line, especially as we head into the holiday season, according to RetailMeNot.com.

Among the key findings, the survey revealed that in the current economic environment, coupon use is on the rise across nearly all demographics, but is highest among the employed and educated.

Twenty-nine percent of college graduates use coupon Web sites to find good deals, compared to 24 percent of those with some college and 20 percent of those with an education level of high school or less. In 2008, these numbers were 23 percent, 20 percent and 20 percent respectively.

Twenty-seven percent of online adults that work full-time or are self-employed use coupon Web sites, up from 22 percent last year.

Twenty-two percent of online adults that are unemployed use coupon Web sites, up from 18 percent last year.

Twenty-five percent of students use coupon Web sites, up from 23 percent last year.

Eighteen percent of retired online adults use coupon Web sites, up from 14 percent last year.

Consumers are increasingly defining their spending habits by whether or not retailers offer coupons, according to the Harris Interactive survey.

Thirty percent of online adults will not make a purchase at an online store if they cannot find a coupon for that store, up from 27 percent in 2008.

Twenty-two percent of online adults will go to a different store to make that purchase, up from 20 percent in 2008, while 8 percent will wait until a coupon is available to make the purchase, which was the same in 2008.

Large families and homes with children are also one of the fastest growing demographics to use coupon Web sites.

Thirty percent of online adults in households with children use coupon websites, up from 24 percent in 2008. Only 22 percent of online adults in households with no children use coupon Web sites, up from 20 percent.

Thirty-one percent of online adults in households of five or more use coupons, up from 15 percent last year. Only 15 percent of online adults that live alone use coupon Web sites, down from 17 percent last year.

Forty percent of online adults who use tools or Web sites to find good deals when shopping online in the Midwest use coupon Web sites, compared to 35 percent in the Northeast, 34 percent in the South and 29 percent in the West

The largest age group to use coupon Web sites is 35-44, with 41 percent of these online adults who use tools or Web sites to find good deals when shopping online, including 47 percent of these women and 34 percent of these men using coupon Web sites.

Married online adults who use tools or Web sites to find good deals when shopping online are significantly more likely to use coupon Web sites, at 39 percent compared to 29 percent of these single or never married online adults and 21 percent of these divorced online adults.

So what predictions can be made about future coupon use based on this study?

“With such broad spectrums of people using online coupons, it seems likely that even with a rebound in the economy, coupon use will continue to flourish,” Ms. Coykendall said. “With so much shopping going on online, and more and more people making a habit of using coupons, their use will only continue to grow.”

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at dan@mobilemarketer.com.

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