Digital Coupon Distributions Increase in 2018 but Remain Far Below Print

May 21, 2019

While everyone loves a good BOGO (buy one, get one free) offer, Americans who prefer them in print saw significantly fewer in 2018, especially in the Food category, where print BOGO promotions were down by 50% year-over-year. By contrast, digital BOGO offers jumped by 93% year-over-year, with non-Food offers more than doubling (+131%) and Food offers up 85%, per a recent report from Kantar Media.

The decline in print offers along with the corresponding increase in digital goes beyond BOGO offers. The total amount of print coupons distributed fell from 278.5 billion in 2017 to 243.8 billion in 2018. In contrast, the number of digital coupons ‘clipped’ grew from 6.9 billion in 2017 to 8.4 billion in 2018. While digital’s growth is impressive in percentage terms, it doesn’t make up for the fewer print coupons in circulation, as digital’s volume still pales in comparison to print FSI coupons.

Indeed, even with their decrease in the number of coupons distributed, print still accounted for $497 billion in purchase incentives, while digital offered $14 billion in purchase incentives.

Other research from Valassis shows that 9 in 10 (91%) US consumers report having used a print coupon this past year, while three-quarters (75%) said they used digital coupons. The same study did show a rise in the number of individuals who prefer to either get paperless coupons sent to a loyalty card or to their mobile, but it also saw an increase of individuals who preferred to get coupons through paper methods.

The only paper method which saw a decline in preference was those who print coupons from the internet. Kantar Media’s research cites a similar decrease in Print-at-Home offers, reporting a 34% decrease year-over-year. At the same time, the Load-to-Wallet (+3%) and Load-to-Card (+21%) methods have risen.

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