FSI Coupon Face Value Up 7.3% to Record Level, $169B Worth Distributed

July 18, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

CPG & FMCG | Free-Standing Inserts & Circulars | Newspapers | Pharma & Healthcare | Retail & E-Commerce

The weighted-average face value (WAFV) for free-standing insert (FSI) coupons increased 7.3%, to $1.34, in the first half of 2008 (compared with 1H07) – the highest WAFV on record, according to Marx Promotion Intelligence, a division of TNS media intelligence.

Manufacturers delivered (via FSIs in Sunday newspapers) more than $169 billion in consumer incentives in 1H08 – up 1.4% from 1H07 – as part of 126 billion coupons distributed across more than 100 billion FSI pages.


Retailer participation in FSI promotions increased 31.3% over the first half of 2007, reaching over 21.2 billion pages, driven in part by the growth of “co-equity” events that frequently deliver retailer-specific coupons rather than traditional manufacturer coupons.

Among other highlights:

  • WAFV across the non-food segment of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry increased 5.1% from the year-earlier period to $1.60, driven by the 28.0% increase within the healthcare area.
  • WAFV across the food segment increased 6.1% to $0.91, led by the 14.0% increase for the dry grocery area.
  • All other areas across the non-food and food segments decreased in WAFV for the first half of 2008.

Sector Activity

The CPG sector remains the largest user of FSI pages with a 70.0% share, followed by direct response, which includes general advertising activity, and franchise, comprising restaurants, portrait studios, and other businesses.


All three sectors decreased in number of pages distributed, resulting in an overall increase in the “share of voice” for individual events within each FSI vehicle.

CPG Non-Food vs. Food

In, Non-Food categories distributed more than 77.6 billion coupons in the first half of 2008, unchanged from a year ago, while Food categories distributed 49.2 billion coupons – a decline of 12.9%. Healthcare and personal care were the only two areas with increases in coupons dropped during this period.


However, manufacturers are increasing the value of the offers that are being delivered to consumers in both the non-food and food segments:

  • WAFV for non-food increased 5.1% to $1.60 and was combined with a 1.8 point decrease in multiple purchase requirements (MPR), resulting in the weighted average face value per unit (WAFVPU) increasing 6.9% to $1.42.
  • Similarly, WAFV for food increased 6.1% to $0.91 and was combined with a 3.5 point decrease in MPR resulting in WAFVPU increasing 9.0% to $0.70.

Manufacturers have also increased the expiration lengths of these offers for the first time since 2005, up 2.7% to 9.7 weeks for non-food and up 0.7% to 10.8 weeks for food categories.

This increase appears to be a response to economic pressures to increase the consumer value per unit, decrease the total investment required for a qualifying purchase, and extend the offer period to align with consumer purchase cycles and manufacturer promotion cycles.

Top 10 FSI Product Types (by Coupons Distributed)


The top 10 product types based on coupons distributed accounted for 33.3% of all FSI coupon activity during the first half of 2008.

Household Cleaning Products ranked first and increased 7.7% to distribute more than 7.4 billion coupons, with 530.7 million coupons being associated with nine new product introductions during the first six months of 2008.

Vitamins moved to fourth place with a 25.2% increase to 4.8 million coupons. This increase is due in part to 248.1 million coupons supporting eight new product introductions during this period.

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