Newspapers Are Still The Largest Source Of Coupons

An industry report reminds shoppers of the best places to nab cost-cutting coupons.

If you’ve canceled your newspaper subscription or switched to a digital subscription, you’re missing out on a lot of savings, according to an industry report.

A NCH Marketing Services report shows that while the digital distribution of coupons increased last year, 92.2 percent of coupons were distributed via free-standing inserts like those in newspapers.

“Marketers leveraged the [free-standing insert]’s mass reach for its brand-awareness value,” the report states.

Digital distribution of coupons accounted for less than 1 percent of all coupon distribution.

NCH Marketing Services is one of the companies under Valassis, which is perhaps best known to consumers for its distribution of coupons through RedPlum newspaper inserts and direct mailings, and through RedPlum.com.

Other findings from the NCH 2014 report include:

  • Marketers issued 310 billion coupons for what they call “consumer packaged goods,” which is a decrease of 1.6 percent from the previous year. A total of 2.75 billion coupons were redeemed in 2014, a decrease of 1.8 percent.
  • The main tactical change that marketers made to coupons was to face values. The average face value of a coupon increased 6.2 percent to $1.72, while offer duration fell slightly and multiple-purchase requirements stayed about the same.
  • The average face value of food coupons, which increased 6 percent to $1.06, rose more than that of nonfood coupons, which increased 3.5 percent to $2.05.
  • The average face value of free-standing-insert coupons increased 6.7 percent to $1.74, while that of non-FSI coupons decreased 4.6 percent to $1.46.
  • Marketers distributed 3.5 percent more nonfood coupons and 10.4 percent fewer food coupons.
  • Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target, Walgreens and Publix remained the top five retailers where consumers redeemed coupons.

Another source, Inmar, says free-standing inserts “represented 89 percent of all coupons distributed in 2013 and accounted for 41 percent of all redeemed coupons.”

Whichever source you choose to believe, it’s obvious that, despite the digital age, couponers are still drawn to the more traditional approach to achieving savings.

These reports offer shoppers insight into the coupon industry, which they can use to become smarter couponers.

Ready to ditch the paper insert and become a digital couponer? Here are some sites to check out:

For more, see “The Definitive Guide to Promo Codes, Coupons and Deals.”

What’s your favorite source for coupons? Are you online, or still using the newspaper? Let us know below, or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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