For years, clipping coupons has been one of the first things people think of when it is time to start trimming the fat in household budgets. As the economic tide has fluctuated, couponing has come in and out of style. But in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, people seem to be clipping more coupons than ever. In SymphonyIRI’s Q2 2011 MarketPulse Survey, we found that 48% of shoppers reported that they were using more coupons than ever.
However, clipping coupons today doesn’t just mean sitting around with the newspaper circulars and a pair of scissors. As our society goes digital, coupons are increasingly available in digital formats.
So far, 116 CPG companies have caught onto the digital coupon trend. Manufacturer websites, Twitter, Facebook, smart phones, and even group deal sites like Groupon all help disseminate the best deals on CPG items to tech-savvy shoppers, and each represents a new way to keep their 21st century customers loyally coming back.
So what is driving this uptick in couponing? Certainly the economic outlook right now is driving people to save more and spend less. But also, as the recent TLC show suggests, couponing is fun. Shoppers feel better by saving a little extra, and finding that an amazing deal can be exciting. Likewise, couponing allows stores to see customers getting into the deals, making them loyal customers if those deals are store-based, and purchasing items with pride.
While digital couponing is certainly the new trend in an old phenomenon, I don’t believe digital coupons will ever completely eclipse traditional ones. Paging through different websites and apps will be yet another arrow in the deal-hunter’s quiver.