CPG Coupon Distribution Down in ’11, but Overall Trend Remains Up

January 30, 2012

nch-marketing-total-us-cpg-coupon-distribution-jan12.gifThe total number of CPG coupons distributed in the US during 2011 dropped 8.1% after hitting a peak in 2010, but remains up 7% from its 2007 pre-recession level, indicating continued strong levels of investment by marketers, according to a study released in January 2012 by NCH.

The number of CPG coupons distributed in the US last year via all media totaled 305 billion, down from 332 billion in 2010 and 311 million in 2009, but up from 285 billion in 2007.

Grocery Segment to Blame

The 27 billion year-over-year coupon distribution decline was attributed entirely to fewer coupons in the grocery segment, which fell 13.1% from 206 billion to 179 billion. Dividing CPG coupons into the grocery and health/beauty care (HBC) categories, grocery coupons held a 58.7% share in 2011, down from 62% the previous year.

The grocery segment saw a wide array of change by sector: distribution fell the most in the grocery cross-category (-21.4%), followed by frozen foods (-20.8%) and refrigerated foods (-15.2%). The beverages segment remained relatively flat, dropping just 0.4%.

CPG Coupon Value Drops

nch-cpg-coupon-value.jpgThe total value of all CPG coupons distributed in the US last year equaled $470 billion, down 8% from $511 billion the prior year, but up from $445 billion in 2009. Since 2007, when total value equaled $373 billion, the figure has increased 26%, with year-over-year increases in every individual year save for 2011.

FSIs Continue to Dominate

nch-coupons-fsi.jpgCPG marketers continued to allocated the largest share of their coupon distribution to free standing inserts (FSIs) during 2011: FSIs accounted for 89.4% of CPG coupons, up from 87.7% in 2010, with all other forms of media comprising the remaining 10.6%. Of those 10.6% distributed by media other than FSIs, in-store handouts represented 4.2%, followed by direct mail (2.3%), other (including all digital formats – 2%), magazine (1.5%), and in/on-pack and cross-ruff (1.1%).

According to a survey released in January 2012 by SymphonyIRI, coupons from home heavily influenced brand choice for 55% of consumers in Q4 2011, unchanged from the previous quarter, but representing a 15% rise from 48% in Q1. Use of newspaper circulars from home proved influential to almost half of consumers, up 14% from 43% in Q1, while use of in-store circulars also gained steam over the course of the year, cited by 44% of consumers as a brand decision influencer in Q4, compared to 36% in Q1.

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