Some 86.5% of consumers who used coupons in the month before the April 2009 survey say they redeemed them at a food store.
Food stores far outpaced their closest competitors, which included restaurants at 46.5%, department stores and mass merchants (such as Wal-Mart) at 41.3%, and drug stores at 34.9%.
Though ICON said that many consumers may have been embarrassed in past years to admit they use coupons, survey results indicate that the recession has changed that sentiment. Today, nearly 87% of respondents say they are using the same amount or more coupons than they used a year ago. One out of three said, unequivocally, they’re using more coupons than a year ago.
Recent research from Bank of America confirms that consumers are employing more prudent shopping behaviors, while a study from Inmar similarly finds that the use of couponing has ballooned back to 1990s levels. That study, however, notes that coupon activity is shifting from the grocery story to the mass merchandiser.
Regardless of where the couponing redemption is taking place, ICOM suggests that the increased use of coupons may present brands with an opportunity to win back the more than 5o% of consumers who have switched to lower-cost alternatives or store brands.
In another sign of the times, survey respondents also said that customer loyalty rewards supporting basic household purchasing – such as groceries and gasoline – are the most appealing. Seven in 10 (70%) of respondents say they’re interested in getting rewards at the grocery store, while 61% want gasoline rewards.
The next closest categories were retail stores at 41%, household products at 40% and travel at 29%.
A study by COLLOQUY confirms a migration to the loyalty-program bandwagon, and finds that participation in loyalty programs - especially among younger adults – has risen 19% since 2007, with retail loyalty programs getting the highest scores for adding value.
About the survey: ICOM’s survey was sent to 70,000 households nationwide. A total of 1,827 respondents responded and participated in the survey.