MOUTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Coupons.com Inc. issued its Digital Coupons Trends Report for 2010, which indicates that more than $1.2 billion in digital coupons savings was issued in 2010, representing a 41 percent growth over the year before.
Compared to growth metrics for coupons distributed in newspapers of 7 percent, digital coupons dramatically outpaced the growth of their newspaper counterparts, approximately 6 to 1.
"Online savings as an industry is growing at a frenzied pace, and the digital coupons space is no exception." said Steven Boal, CEO of Coupons.com. "More and more consumers are making digital coupons a part of their shopping routine, accessing them across the entire digital domain €" including the Web, in social media, with consumer electronics, via their mobile phones, etcetera. At the same time, brand marketers are increasingly engaging with consumers via digital offers, wanting to influence shoppers throughout their path to purchase."
Data shows that users of digital coupons have higher household incomes and are better educated than users of newspaper coupons and the general population overall, dispelling the perceived low-brow stigma of couponing.
The consumer who prints digital coupons has an average household income of $105,000, a 26 percent higher income level than the U.S. average. 36 percent of those who use digital coupons have a college degree, compared to 28 percent of those who use newspaper coupons and 26 percent of the general populace.
Interestingly, adults with household income of over $100,000 are twice as likely to have redeemed coupons printed from an online source than adults with household income less than $35,000. Also, adults with college degrees are almost twice as likely to have used coupons in the prior six months as those who didn€™t graduate from high school.
Cereal was by far the most popular coupon category in 2010, followed by yogurt, refrigerated dough, portable snacks, vegetables, baby products, soup, air, rug and fabric care, cheese and lastly, lunch meats.
For the second year in a row, Atlanta takes the top spot on the "Most Frugal U.S. Cities" list for 2010, according to Coupons.com€™s Savings Index. On average, regular users of Coupons.com in Atlanta printed or saved to a loyalty card more than $1,000 dollars in coupon savings from the site in 2010. That is almost twice the amount of savings in 2009, during which time Coupons.com users printed or saved to loyalty card $531 in savings.
Ohio, meanwhile, is the country€™s most frugal state. Seattle advanced the most, up 5 positions, to the No. 18 spot on the list.
Representing more than 16 percent of the U.S. population, more than 49 million American consumers are now using online coupons, up from 45 million in 2009. Of the 49 million online coupon users, almost one-third (14.8 million) has not read or looked into the Sunday newspaper for coupons within the prior six months, a 13 percent increase over 13.1 million in 2008.
Research also indicates 73 percent of all U.S. shoppers have used online printable Web coupons to date.
Consumer interest in savings is expected to remain steadfast regardless of economic recovery signs, with many reports predicting that buyer behavior around savings is here to stay. In fact, research consistently shows that even when economic conditions improve, 8 out of 10 U.S. adults plan to continue to engage in couponing activities.
In addition, food prices are predicted to rise during 2011, putting pressure on consumer budgets while, at the same time, driving manufacturers to use creative vehicles to move product off the shelves.
Other factors influencing the growth of digital coupons include increased Internet and mobile adoption by consumers, increased comfort with technology by mainstream consumers, and decreasing reach of traditional newspapers. Digital coupons are expected to continue to show up in new places across the digital domain, including social media, consumer electronics, home appliances and in-store kiosks and shopping carts.
In the longer term, with changes expected at point-of-sale checkout with new technologies like RFID (radio frequency identification) and NFC (near field communications) and increased use of mobile apps, coupons will be saved to mobile devices and redeemed without the actual scanning of the mobile screen. U.S. penetration of smart phones is expected to exceed basic phones (i.e. "feature" phones) in by the end of 2011.