Though it may seem like a new fad is sweeping the nation, it’s actually been around for more than 100 years. Coupons, first widely-used by C.W. Post in 1909 to help sell his now-famed Post brand breakfast cereals, have become a social phenomenon. Who would have thought that the once-revolutionary newspaper coupon would grow into a life of its own?
There’s no question that the growth of the Internet has tremendously impacted how, when and where consumers can find deals. Websites and mobile applications like Groupon and LivingSocial now make it possible for consumers to save on meals, apparel, health and fitness and even weekend getaways. Thanks to mobile applications like ShopKick, shoppers can also receive coupons just by simply being in the same vicinity of a specific retailer who blasts out instant coupons to a person’s mobile device. Websites such as CyberMonday.com and Coupon Sherpa.com allow consumers to view the best online deals from all their favorite retailers at the same time.
For some, these options are simply not enough. Enter extreme couponing – what AdAge says marketers should be paying close attention to and the subject of its own cable television reality series show, Extreme Couponing. The premise isn’t as simple as it sounds. Using peelies, blinkies, catalinas and stacking, frugal families around the country find ways to save thousands of dollars every year on their grocery bills by combining retailer and manufacturer coupons, rebates, in-store promotions and any other paper, plastic or online deal they can get their hands on. There are even websites dedicated to growing your own extreme couponing business – and business it is, indeed. One coupon blogger proudly advises the customers in line behind her at the store to “…pick another checkout lane, honey,” because it’s going to be a while.
Whether this trend has grown because of the economy or because of tried-and-true practices, extreme couponing is “hot” right now. In their latest “Hot or Not” consumer survey, BIGresearch found six in 10 adults say extreme couponing is hot, and nearly three-quarters of women and moms say the trend is on their radar.
BIGresearch also found some other interesting trends about consumers and coupons. click here to view complete survey:
- Nearly half of consumers say they are influenced or greatly influenced by online coupons
- More than two-thirds of shoppers say coupons influence their decisions to buy grocery items
- Coupons on cell phones (5.5%) aren’t quite as influential as shelf coupons (18.6%) or register tape coupons (11.0%)
And, as USA Today reports, it’s not only the middle and low income folks who use coupons these days – even the well-to-do are reveling in coupon clipping.
Another hot topic these days: gas prices. Over the course of this most recent recession, we’ve heard myriad ways consumers are offsetting the price of high gas prices. One of the more popular alternatives seems to be…you guessed it, coupon usage. Overall, Americans’ use of coupons as a result of fluctuating gas prices has doubled since 2006, and in June 2011 reached the highest reported usage since 2006.
Even though coupons are nearly as old as retail itself – or maybe it just seems that way – this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. Based on their evolution and growing popularity, it’s fair to say coupons will be around forever.