The Coupon Comeback

One of the most common questions we get asked is: Why on earth would you focus on printed coupons? Aren’t aren’t all coupons going digital?

It got so bad that we put a slide in our deck showing that, in fact, 93% of all coupons still come in print. Digital makes up just a measly 7%. (source: Borrell Associates)

Alas, this didn’t seem to quash the concern: The underlying skepticism is that traditional couponing is a dying marketing tactic. Perhaps it’s the advent of Groupon-style daily deals or just the common technophile phobia of messy paper, but what a lot of these people seemed to be assuming was that cents- or dollars-off coupons were going the way of the dodo. It’s not enough to say that printed coupons represent $490 billion in potential savings (Borrell), or that people clip on average 10 coupons a week.

What the coupon skeptics need to see is that coupons are actually more popular now, in the midst of our current recession, than ever before.

That’s why, when I now get asked the “Why Printed Coupons?” question, my first response is usually: “Did you know that the number of coupons redeemed has gone up  26% in the last three years, and 63% last year alone?” (source: Inmar).

What usually gets even more eyebrows raised: “While the newspapers I worked for at Gannett have seen their circulation erode steadily over the last 5 years, Sunday sales are actually up, across the board.”

Thanks to the infographic below, courtesy of, I now have about two dozen other data points to make the case that traditional coupons are in the midst of a major comeback. Some of my favorites:

  • On average, Americans only take advantage of 0.6% of offered savings
  • Households with average incomes of above $100,000 are 2x more likely to coupon than those earning less that $35,000
  • College degree holders are also 2x more likely to coupon than those who didn’t graduate high school
  • Newspaper coupons still constitute 89% of coupons redeemed
  • 60% of those 13 to 17 years old use coupons and coupon codes
That one about 60% of teenagers using coupons floored me. Yesterday, talking with one of the sales reps at the Philly Inquirer, I learned that his 16-year-old daughter rips through the Sunday circulars for coupons. All the time I’ve been working on SnipSnap, I hadn’t the foggiest idea our app would appeal to teens.
Looks like the print-coupon doubters aren’t the only ones who need to re-check those assumptions.



via The Coupon Comeback: Are You Missing Out? –