People clip them, download them, print them and have them scanned from smart phones when buying frozen and refrigerated foods, and just about everything else sold at retail stores. The practice of distributing discount coupons to consumers as a form of product promotion, and the activity of seeking out or saving coupons to obtain bargains on purchases is a way of life for almost 50% of shoppers in the United States.
Trey Moser, senior director of retail analytics at Inmar, recently made a presentation at the 22nd Annual Executive Conference of the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) in Tempe, Arizona, entitled “Inmar Coupon Report for 2013: Top Lines and Trends.” It provided a summary of major coupon activity for last year including offer distribution, redemption and method use, and spotlighted promotion activity in the frozen and refrigerated categories.
Citing the 2014 Inmar Coupon Trends Report, Moser told his audience of more than 100 frozen and refrigerated business professionals that industry-wide coupon redemption remained steady in 2013 at 2.9 billion coupons redeemed, while distribution grew 3.6 percent – compared to 2012. Some 329 billion coupons for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) – including both traditional, paper coupons and digital, paperless coupons – were distributed in the USA last year. Of the coupons distributed in 2013, roughly 40 percent were for food products and 60 percent for non-food products.
The preferred method of distribution for marketers in 2013 – and the most popular method for redemption by consumers – continued to be free-standing Inserts (FSIs). They represented 87.3 percent of all coupons distributed last year and accounted for 41 percent of all redeemed coupons.
The utility and popularity of this method were equally evident in the frozen and refrigerated categories. In 2013, 88.3 percent of all coupons distributed for frozen foods were FSIs, with these coupons comprising 50.1 percent of this frozen food coupon redemption mix. Concurrently, 85.7 percent of the coupons distributed for refrigerated products were FSIs and made up 39.4 percent of the coupons redeemed in this category.
According to the Inmar 2014 Shopper Behavior Study, 49 percent of shoppers regularly use FSI coupons – making them the most frequently used method among shoppers (when ranked against the other discovery/acquisition methods). In terms of redeemed offer count, more than one billion of the 2.9 billion coupons redeemed in 2013 were FSIs.
At the same time, digital coupons – enabling more “personalized promotion” and deployed by marketers with enhanced targeting – continued to grow ahead of the overall rate of coupon growth and, consequently, increased their share of redemption. These are coupons that consumers load directly to their shopper loyalty accounts from retailer and publisher websites, as well as other locations. With no paper involved, these offers are applied automatically at checkout and discounts are instantly credited when shoppers present their loyalty cards or unique individual identifiers.
In 2013, more than 66 million digital coupons were redeemed industry-wide according to Inmar estimates – a 141 percent increase over 2012. Inmar alone facilitated the redemption of almost 44 million digital coupons in 2013, giving it the largest share of digital coupon redemption information in the industry. That represents a 120 percent increase over the approximately 20 million paperless coupons the company settled in 2012.
Other methods accounting for sizable portions of coupons redeemed included instant redeemable (15.6 percent), electronic checkout (8.4 percent), shelf pad (5.9 percent), Internet print at home (5.2 percent) and direct mail (4.1 percent).
In the refrigerated product category, when the percent of coupons redeemed by method was indexed against the percent of coupons distributed by method, results showed that consumers in this product category also favor coupons that encourage repeat purchase, such as on-pack and in-pack. Consumers who shop for frozen products, in addition to liking FSIs, favor in-store distributed coupons such as instant redeemable, instant redeemable cross ruff, handout in-store with sample and shelf pad.
In speaking to these findings, Moser advised those in attendance to take a holistic approach to their promotions – urging them to employ omnichannel strategies that recognize documented coupon preferences and media usage among shoppers. He also stressed the importance of relevance in promotional content and the need for marketers to use data to match offers with shoppers for better targeting and enhanced consumer engagement.
Inmar is a technology company that operates intelligent commerce networks. Its platforms connect offline and online transactions in real time for leading retailers, manufacturers and trading partners across multiple industries that rely on Inmar to securely manage billions of dollars in transactions. Founded in 1980, it is headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with locations throughout the USA, Mexico and Canada.