John Ross | February 24, 2016

During Inmar's recent Promotion Industry Analysis webinar we presented key metrics for 2015 coupon activity that speak to an industry very much in flux. And one that has been for several years. The 13 percent decline in overall coupon redemption (between 2014 and 2015) we reported is paralleled by the 19.2 percent increase in redemption volume for load-to-card coupons but both illustrate the change and challenges marking our industry.

Coupon redemption volume has, historically, fluctuated — influenced by any number of macro-economic factors, marketplace conditions and promotion deployment strategies. The activity we're seeing reflects a continuum of change that all of us in the industry are quite familiar with and does not signal an enduring deviation from previously observed shopper behavior. Shoppers are still using — and will continue to use — coupons on a regular basis as a central savings strategy.

Shoppers' continued interest in coupons was recently evidenced by Inmar's 2016 Shopper Behavior Study that found 92 percent of shoppers saying they used a coupon in the last three months for groceries, household supplies, healthcare items, or personal care products. Forty-eight percent of those shoppers who use coupons say they use them regularly to buy these items. The study revealed also that among shoppers who make a shopping list before they go to the store, 48 percent use coupons to make their lists.

At the same time, shoppers are demanding even greater convenience in their acquisition of coupons and are expecting promotions to be delivered to them that closely align with their lifestyles and media preferences. (We spoke at length about the need for, and advantages of, "personalization" during the webinar.) And, among a wider variety of more digital-savvy shoppers (e.g. millennials, Hispanics, etc.) who are now using coupons, there is growing disinterest in using traditional vehicles to find and acquire promotions.

This is a critical challenge for marketers working to optimize the effectiveness of their consumer promotions and drive redemption even as they contend with ever-constricting budgets. However, by taking a more holistic approach to promotion, using data to better understand shoppers and employing an offer distribution mix that recognizes, and leverages, shifting method-use among disparate audiences, marketers will be able to more effectively engage and activate shoppers through coupons.

Inmar has the solutions and insights retailers and manufacturers need to develop and deploy strategies that address the current industry-state -- and the future we are already anticipating. Call us and let's talk about how.

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John Ross