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As Americans attempt to stretch their disposable dollars, we are becoming a nation of coupon clippers. According to new research from the Promotion Marketing Association's (PMA) Coupon Council, consumers saved approximately $3 billion this year by using coupons.
In another survey, conducted by Prospectiv, a lead generation provider, 72 percent of consumers polled say they're using more coupons now than they did six months ago, with 75 percent citing economic concerns as their main reason. The PMA attributes rising coupon use to concerns about the price of gas, the general cost of living and an unpredictable economy.
Online is a key source for coupons, according to the Prospectiv study, with 15 percent of those surveyed saying the web is their primary source for coupons. In addition, six percent cited email offers and newsletters as a top coupon source, while two percent said they most frequently use discounts displayed in banner ads.
Offline media still leads the way for coupons. Just over half of respondents said newspapers and magazines are where they get coupons most often. Another 19 percent named circulars and inserts, and seven percent said direct mail.
However, the poll found that many consumers are open to getting product deals via the web. More than one quarter of consumers said they'd like to receive coupons in the future via email offers and enewsletters, and 16 percent said they'd like to get coupons from websites.
Consumers also want more tailored offers. Eighty percent said they would increase their use of online coupons if they received deals tailored to their specific interests and favorite products.
"Prospectiv's poll shows that as long as coupon savings promotions are tailored to their interests, consumers welcome direct offers from marketers, especially through direct mail and online channels such as email, targeted enewsletters and consumer savings websites," concluded Jere Doyle, the company's CEO.
The PMA study of 1,000 consumers revealed the following information:
- 89 percent of the overall population report that they use coupons when shopping for grocery, household and health care items at supermarkets.
- 97 percent of primary shoppers report they use coupons at supermarkets.
- Coupon users report an average of seven percent savings on their grocery bill with coupons.
"Consumers love coupons, which they see as a great way to economize, stretch the grocery budget and try new products for less than retail price," said Charles Brown, co chairman of the council. "And particularly when shoppers are pinched by rising gas and energy costs, as well as increasing food prices, coupons offer an easy chance to save. All consumers have to do is organize their shopping to buy items with the coupons available to them, whether in their newspaper, mailbox, in the store or on the Internet."
Other PMA studies have shown that consumers who spend 20 minutes per week clipping and organizing their coupons can save up to $1,000 per year. With an average annual family grocery bill of $5,000, that represents a 20 percent savings.
The typical family saves between $5.20 and $9.60 per week using coupons. Those who spend 10 minutes or less per week clipping and organizing their coupons, which accounts for 46 percent of consumers, still achieve an average $7 on weekly savings on their grocery bill.
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