Ad Inserts Capture Consumers’ Attention

February 12, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Free-Standing Inserts & Circulars | Household Income | Retail & E-Commerce

Nearly half (47%) of Americans say inserts and circulars are the advertising vehicles that best capture their attention – a nine-point increase from 2003 levels – according to “Customer Focus 2008: Retail” study from Vertis Communications.

The study found that inserts and circulars have overcome television advertising as the medium most able to elicit consumer attention:

  • Some 43% of respondents said television advertising best piqued their interest, a 10-point drop from the numbers reported five years earlier.
  • 38% of adults reported newspaper advertising is most attention-grabbing, down from 45% in 2003.

Among other major findings:

  • 93% of consumers who read inserts and circulars use them for more than just price comparisons.
  • More than half of those who read them do so for clipping coupons, assisting in making shopping lists for upcoming trips to the store, and browsing for new products or styles.
  • Additionally, 45% of respondents use inserts to look for recipes, while 37% said they help steer shopping trips the same day they read the insert.

Inserts and circulars also most influential in swaying buying decisions, the study found:


  • 27% of shoppers said that inserts and circulars are the advertising vehicles most likely to directly impact buying decisions.
  • Television advertising and newspaper advertising were the number two and number three most trusted advertising vehicles, with 19% and 12% of those surveyed, respectively.
  • Only 9% of respondents selected the Internet as the most influential mediums, and e-mail advertising was the least popular choice (selected by a mere 1% of respondents).

Consumers in several demos find multiple uses for inserts, according to the study:

  • 55% of insert readers still rely on the medium to help determine the products they buy; 51% use them to help compile shopping lists, and 50% pull them out when browsing for their preferred new product style:


  • Those who make the most money are still looking for ways to save. Some 55% of those who earn between $50-75,000 per year clip coupons, as do 51% of those who earn more than $75,000:


  • Suburbia is the locale most likely to have its denizens rely on inserts to guide purchase decisions, with 59% of suburban residents saying they use circulars to clip coupons and 52% saying they use them to browse for new styles:


Inserts and circulars drive buying decisions, Vertis said:

  • In the past four years, the proportion of insert readers who use inserts and circulars to help decide which groceries to buy rose from 52% (in 2004) to 59%.
  • They continue to have influence in other categories as well, with 51% of respondents using them when purchasing clothing, 48% to guide home electronics decisions, 43% when selecting home improvement products, 36% when buying major appliances:


  • 54% of those age 18-34 said they use inserts and circulars to help select which items end up in their shopping cart, up from 47% in 2004.
  • Not surprisingly, the group most likely to utilize inserts or circulars were insert readers age 50 and older; 63% of this group indicated they use inserts, an 8-point increase in the past four years.

About the study: Customer Focus is Vertis Communications’ proprietary annual study tracking consumer behavior across a wide variety of industry segments – retail, grocery, home improvement, fashion, home electronics, sporting goods, furniture, technology, auto aftermarket – and media, including advertising inserts, direct marketing, and the internet. The survey was first conducted in 1998 and, in subsequent years, has been expanded and modified to identify emerging consumer behavior patterns and track shifts in consumer practices and motivations.

45th Parallel Design Ad

Explore More Charts.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This