They Really Are Using Coupons

Since the economy turned bad, polls have consistently shown consumers claiming to use more coupons as a way of saving money. A report from NCH Marketing Services, which tracks the coupon sector, indicates they’ve been telling the truth. Through the third quarter of this year, 2.5 billion coupons were redeemed, up 5.3 percent vs. the same period last year — even though 2009 saw “record-breaking volumes.” Marketers have more than kept pace with demand, distributing 260 billion coupons during that period, up 11.6 percent. Free-standing inserts accounted for 86.7 percent of distributions, the Internet for just 1.1 percent.

But a report by RetailMeNot.com (which describes itself as a “consumer destination for coupons, discounts and promotional codes”) cites broad awareness of online coupon Web sites. In online polling conducted for it by Harris Interactive, 22 percent of respondents said they use coupon Web sites to find “good deals” when shopping online.

Among those who ever use coupons, 29 percent included such sites among the venues in which they “typically” find grocery coupons. By comparison, 69 percent said they typically get coupons from newspapers, and 49 percent said they get them in the postal mail. Forty-one percent get them at brick-and-mortar stores.