Americans love their coupons. And cutting coupons paid off big in 2011. Americans redeemed $4.6 billion worth of coupons last year, out of a possible $470 billion in savings offered by the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, according to NCH Marketing Services' 2012 coupon facts survey.
While the total represented a 12 percent increase from 2010, NCH said the record for savings from redeemed coupons remains $7.7 billion, set in 1992.
The most popular categories in which coupons were redeemed last year were:
- Hair care
- Eye care treatment
- Candy and gum
- Butter and margarine
- Sanitary protection
- First aid
- Vitamins and supplements
- Dried fruit
The most popular way to distribute coupons was through free-standing inserts; nearly 90 percent of coupons were distributed in that manner in 2011. However, a notable new distribution method is coming from digital coupons. That trend is expected to continue in coming years, said Charles Brown, vice president of marketing at NCH Marketing Services.
"Digital coupons are expected to continue to grow, but marketers will need to use a mix of coupon distribution media to reach their complete audience and have the most successful results from their coupon promotions," Brown said.
While consumers see potential savings when using coupons, savvy businesses can also benefit, using coupons to draw price-conscious consumers to their stores and then retain them. According to Brown, the key is to stand out from the crowd.
"You can’t follow the averages, you must look at what is occurring in your segment, sector and category to devise the best coupon promotional marketing strategy for your brand," said Brown. "Again, the patterns of activity are very unique, and what we see happening in the aggregate is not true of the trend for every offer, brand, category or company."