Inmar Inc. | March 21, 2013

Hopefully, you were among the more than 300 attendees at our recent webinar, "2012 Coupon Trends — Insights and Analysis." This is our 25th year publishing coupon data for the entire industry, including volume and trends for distribution, redemption, method, share and performance -- everything our clients and peers have come to expect from Inmar. And, this year, we introduced two new components to the report: shopper insights and key digital promotion metrics.

The shopper insights provided in the report are from new consumer research conducted by Inmar Analytics -- the division led by industry veterans John Ross and Devora Rogers. (Both came to Inmar from Interpublic Group's Shopper Sciences.) The digital promotion metrics provided reflect our belief that, while the digital promotion ecosystem is actively evolving, the space has matured enough — and produced sufficient data — for us to begin speaking confidently to the tactics and trends unique to this marketing channel.

The formal report will be available soon but, in the meantime, I wanted to share some top-line findings:

  • Coupon redemption fell significantly. While distribution remained relatively stable between 2011 and 2102 (312B vs. 310B distributed), only 3.0B manufacturer coupons were redeemed in 2012. This represents a 14.3 percent decrease.
  • Macro-economic trends are not responsible for the decline. The "usual suspects," (e.g. the unemployment rate, consumer price index, GDP, retail sales, etc. ) that have historically been strongly correlated with coupon redemption do not appear to explain the decline.
  • Marketing tactics may explain some of the decline. There was definite "belt tightening" by marketers in 2012 with the trend continuing toward lower average face values, increased purchase requirements and shortened redemption periods. Still, just a part of the explanation.
  • Consumer interest in coupons is extraordinarily high. Our consumer research into shopper behavior and sentiment toward coupon use shows that interest in coupons remains extraordinarily high -- particularly among new/emerging coupon user segments including millennials, young adults and men.
  • The gap between consumer preferences and marketing tactics is influencing the decline in redemption. There appears to be a widening gap between what shoppers want in coupons (online access, easy acquisition, "personalized offers") and the tactics currently being deployed by coupon marketers. This can't be overlooked as helping drive the decline in redemption for 2012.

Definitely food for thought. And, if you have any questions about any of this material, please do not hesitate to contact me. To reserve your free copy of Inmar's Coupon Trends Report, simply drop a line to or call 855.815.2646; we'll have your copy en route in short order.