Aug 24, 2011 • By

3 trends in coupon redemption

A recent online story about coupon use for groceries in the U.S. prompted me to think about the coupons that show up on our doorsteps every Sunday morning in the newspaper .

Marketing Daily on MediaPost reported that the primary channels for coupon-users continue to be Sunday newspaper inserts (49 percent), in-store coupons (43 percent), direct mailings (33 percent) and in-store circulars (26 percent).

The study also said that more than a fifth (22 percent) of all coupon users are using digital media such as email, text messaging and the Web.

Talking with Karl Schmidt, our resident coupon expert and promotion marketing director at General Mills, I learned that the importance of digital coupons is increasing.

“Newspaper coupons dominated the coupon industry for more than 30 years, but for us they’re clearly on the decline,” says Karl. “Redemption rates from Sunday newspapers are very low.”

Instead, as you might expect, Karl says companies like General Mills are increasingly investing in channels for digital coupons, including the use of brand and product websites.

He told me about three trends in coupon redemption that he’s keeping an eye on:

1. Consumer engagement with mobile media and devices (Smartphones, tablets, QR codes, location-based services, to name a few).

2, Increased retailer attention to mobile coupons (which link to consumer loyalty card data).

3. The longer term emergence of mobile wallets – popular in Asia – which allow consumers to electronically carry the contents of a wallet (credit/debit cards, coupons, shopping lists) on their phone.

“Coupons are a strong purchase motivator for brands, especially in this value-oriented economy,” Karl says. “They work hand-in-hand with advertising to provide consumers with the information they’re seeking to make a decision about the products they want to buy.”