Digital Coupon Growth Outpaces Inserts

February 11, 2010

During 2009, the growth rate of digital coupons outpaced the typical annual growth rate of free standing insert (FSI) coupons by a factor of more than 10-1, according to annual data indicates that savings US consumers obtained from digital coupons grew 170% in 2009, compared to a typical annual growth rate of 8-16% for FSI coupons. Printed savings from and the digital coupon network in 2009 exceeded $858 million, a 170% increase from more than $300 million in 2008. According to, key factors influencing the growth included increased consumer adoption of online printable, save to store loyalty card and mobile coupons and increased use of digital coupons by brand marketers, including manufacturers and retailers alike.

More than 20% of US Consumers Use Digital Coupons
A significant increase in the number of Americans using digital coupons drove their growth in savings. More than 45 million US consumers used digital coupons in 2009, an 18.4% increase from 38 million in 2008. Roughly 20% of the US population used digital coupons last year.

Wealthy, Educated Consumers Use Online Coupons
Despite common perceptions of avid coupon users, consumers who printed digital coupons in 2009 had an average household income of $97,000, 23% higher than the average household income of about $79,000. In addition, 34% of digital coupon users in 2009 held a college degree, compared to 30% of newspaper coupon users and 27% of the general population.

Cereal Leads Digital Coupon Categories
The top ten digital coupon categories for 2009 are: 1. Ready-to-Eat Cereal; 2. Yogurt; 3. Sweet Snacks; 4. Refrigerated Dough; 5. Salty Snacks; 6. Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR)/Casual Dining; 7. Nutritional Snacks; 8. Entertainment; 9. Condiments; and 10. Pizza.


Atlanta Consumers Most Frugal
Atlanta topped the list of the Most Frugal U.S. Cities, with the average user in the Georgia capital saving more than $531 with digital coupons from the site in 2009. As measured by the Savings Index, Tampa, FL followed closely in the number two position.

The top 10 digital couponing cities, with corresponding savings index score, are: 1. Atlanta, GA 918; 2. Tampa, FL 522; 3. Cincinnati, OH 511; 4. Saint Louis, MO 468; 5. Minneapolis, MN 351; 6. Nashville, TN 308; 7. Charlotte, NC 306; 8. Cleveland, OH 272; 9. Pittsburgh, PA 254; 10. Kansas City, MO 254.


Free-Standing Insert Coupon Activity Increases 8% in 2009
Free Standing Insert (FSI) coupon activity increased 8% during 2009 vs. the previous year to more than 272 billion coupons dropped, according to Marx Promotion Intelligence, a division of TNS Media Intelligence. This activity level is the highest yearly coupons dropped observed during the past decade, surpassing the second highest annual Coupons Dropped of 257 billion realized in 2007. During 2009, more than $385 billion in consumer incentives were delivered via FSI coupons, up 15% from 2008.

About the Survey: collected internal user data and other industry metrics.

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