The use of coupons increased in 2009, thanks partly to the surge of digital coupons, according to Coupons.com.
Coupon usage increased for the first time in 17 years in 2009, as the increase in printed digital coupon savings saw a 170 percent boost during the year, compared to 8 percent to 16 percent growth in the coupons inserted into newspapers.
Printed savings from Coupons.com and its digital coupon network surpassed $858 million in 2009. “The company believes that key factors influencing the growth included increased consumer adoption of online printable, save to store loyalty card and mobile coupons and increased use of digital coupons by brand marketers, including manufacturers and retailers alike,” according to a press release.
More than 45 million U.S. consumers, or 20 percent of the total population, are now using online coupons, which reflects an increase from the 38 million consumers who used digital coupons in 2008. One-third of the 45 million online coupon users do not clip coupons from their Sunday newspaper, a 140 percent increase from the 9.4 million who said the same in 2008.
Coupons.com notes that Yahoo! listed “coupons” as the top economy-related query in 2009.
The average consumer who printed coupons in 2009 had an average household income of $97,000, 23 percent higher than the U.S. average. Meanwhile, 34 percent had a college degree, higher than the 30 percent for the general U.S. population.
Ready-to-eat cereal was the top coupon category in 2009, followed by yogurt, sweet snacks, refrigerated dough, salty snacks, quick-serve restaurants/casual dining, nutritional snacks, entertainment, condiments and pizza.
Atlanta was dubbed the most frugal U.S. city in 2009, with a Coupons.com Savings Index score of 918, followed by Tampa with 522, Cincinnati with 511, Saint Louis with 468 and Minneapolis with 351.
According to the 2009 CPG Coupon Industry Facts Report, released by NCH Marketing Services, nearly $3.5 billion was saved by consumers with consumer packaged goods coupons (on and off line) in 2009, a 30 percent increase from 2008.
The report also notes that coupons are worth more than ever, averaging $1.41 in 2009, up from $1.29 in 2008.
The top five product categories consumers use coupons for are medications, remedies and health aids; cereal and breakfast foods; household cleaners; shelf-stable prepared foods; and hair care, according to NCH.