The Sunday newspapers and other print sources are still the leading place Americans turn to for coupons, but text messages and e-mails are gaining in popularity. According to Scarborough Research, 8.6 million (or 8 percent) of U.S. households currently acquire coupons via text messages and/or email.
Sunday newspapers are still the most popular way households obtain coupons at 51 percent, followed by in-store coupons (35 percent), mail (31 percent), loyalty card programs (21 percent), in-store circulars (20 percent), weekday newspapers (17 percent), product packages (16 percent), magazines (15 percent) and Internet sites (7 percent).
Not surprisingly, consumers that obtain coupons via text or e-mail tend to be young, affluent, educated and female, with 14 percent more likely than the average adult to be between 18 and 24; and 51 percent more likely to be a college graduate or have an advanced degree.
A number of factors have contributed to the increasing use of text or e-mail coupons, such as the increase usage of cell phones and other personal communications devices, which allow consumers to access offers at the point of purchase. And because consumers must opt in to receive the coupons, they tend to be more targeted.
"Coupons received via text messaging are typically sent only to consumers who have opted in to receive them. This increases the relevancy of the offer and the potential for the consumer to act on that offer," said Gary Meo, senior vp of digital media and print services for Scarborough, a joint venture between Arbitron and Nielsen, the parent company of Mediaweek.
The top market for text and/or e-mail coupon users is Providence, R. I., where 12 percent of households obtain coupons via text or e-mail, followed by Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; San Diego, Calif.; Austin, Texas; and Chicago, Ill., all at 11 percent.