Coupon use up: digital coupon use booming

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According to recent data from Coupons Inc., it's not just hard economic times that are spurring consumers' use of coupons. The company's latest trends data found that newspaper free-standing insert use was up 8.4% since last year, and digital coupon use on its own site increased 100% during the same time period. Most popular are offers on grocery items, particularly cereal brands, and women's fashion.

Whether its downloading points to a loyalty card, scanning them from a mobile phone or printing the coupon from online at home, Coupons Inc. found that consumers saved $1 billion during the last year. This June saw a record of $110 million saved.

But the real insight is who's saving money and how. Contrary to standard patterns of coupon use, data from Harris Interactive done on behalf of Coupons.com in March 2010, found that adults with household income of more than $100,000 are twice as likely to have redeemed coupons printed from an online source than adults with household income less than $35,000. In fact, the average salary of a digital coupon user is $96,000. This suggests couponing is not just for the hard up penny-pinchers.

In fact, online couponing is becoming more social in nature. People are sending, sharing and discussing coupons online with their social network groups. If your brand is not already using social media to offer fans and visitors exclusive discounts – what are you waiting for? A recent Razorfish report found the number one reason consumers followed a brand on Twitter or Liked a brand on Facebook was access to exclusive deals or offers. The coupon has gone from a grocery store accessory for the budget conscious to a badge of loyalty for the tech savvy, well-educated shopper.

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