Consumers Turning to Coupons for Grocery Savings

April 17, 2012

markettools-saving-money-on-groceries-april2012.jpgAlmost 2 in 3 shoppers have changed their shopping habits in the past 6 months to eke out as much value from their grocery dollar as possible, says MarketTools in April 2012 survey results. And by far the leading way for these respondents to save money is to buy items with coupons (80%), while about 3 in 5 say they turn to store brands instead of name brands, use loyalty cards that offer discounts, or only buy items when they are on sale.

Coupons Prevalent Among More Affluent

Interestingly, coupon use is more frequent among higher-than lower-income households, with 49% of those with annual household income of $75,000 or more reporting use of coupons on every, or nearly every, shopping trip, compared to 38% of those with annual household incomes of less than $25,000. Coupon use isn’t just frequent among the higher-earning, it’s also widespread, with 98% of this group saying they make use of coupons to save money on grocery bills.

Paper Coupons More Commonly Used

markettools-grocery-coupon-sources-april2012.jpgCoupons appear to be more commonly gleaned from old-fashioned paper sources than digital ones. More than 7 in 10 shoppers said they get their coupons from newspapers or newspaper coupon inserts, while 3 in 5 get them in the mail and slightly more than half get them from store circulars.

By contrast, less than 2 in 5 get them from email (37%) or coupons websites (36%), while only about 1 in 5 source them from manufacturer’s websites and just 1 in 10 from Facebook. These digital coupon users seem to be big spenders, though: according to an April 2012 report from, digital coupon users shop more frequently and spend more heavily, at almost 50% more annually, than the average shopper.

Other Findings:

  • Data from the MarketTools study indicates that women are slightly more likely than men to report using coupons for at least half of their shopping trips (71% vs. 67%). Results from a Valpak survey released in March 2012 corroborate the finding of high coupon usage among women: 70% of women responding to that survey reported using coupons, with 58% saying they have increased their use of coupons over the past few years.
  • 49% of the respondents to the MarketTools survey said that a coupon would not influence them to buy an item they don’t typically buy.
  • Slightly more than one-third of respondents said they subscribe to a daily deal site, with 70% of those saying they had made at least one purchase in the past 6 months. Grocery items accounted for just 13% of the purchases, behind other categories such as dining out (20%), services (18%), and activities and entertainment (18%).

About the Data: The MarketTools results are based on a survey conducted in February 2012 among American adults age 21 and older who report shopping for at least half of their household’s groceries. Completed surveys numbered 893 nationally representative responses.

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