Digital Coupon Prints Up in 2021 as Print Distributions Continue Declines

April 5, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

CPG & FMCG | Cross-Media & Traditional | Industries | Promotions, Coupons & Co-op

Continuing a theme from years past, the number of printed coupons distributed dropped last year, falling by 12.4% year-over-year. Recent data from Kantar finds that close to 159 billion printed coupons were dropped in 2021, down from the more than 181 billion issued during 2020.

By contrast, it was a stronger year for digital coupon prints/clips, which grew by almost 8.7 billion – a 13.3% rise over the 7.65 billion distributed in 2020. There remains a large gap in print distributions and digital prints/clips, though, with the former around 18 times larger than the latter. However, just a few years ago, in 2018, print coupon distributions outweighed digital ones by 29 times.

Promotional activity differed by modality, per the report. Within print, Non-Food coupons were dominant at 84% share of the total (up 4% points from 2020), whereas digital prints/clips were more heavily skewed towards Food (65% share; up 3.2% points year-over-year) coupons.

Looking at print, the decline in coupons dropped was most acutely seen in the Frozen Products (-43.2%) and Shelf Stable Beverages (-35.7%) categories, while remaining mostly flat in the Health Care (-2%) and Household Products (-3.5%) areas. In terms of digital estimated prints, the gains were largest for Shelf Stable Beverages (+29.8%) and Frozen Products (+29%), indicating that these two categories shifted their strategies somewhat from print to digital.

Separately, trends in the weighted average face value of printed and digital coupons diverged. The weighted average face value of printed Food promotions dipped by $0.02, while digital Food coupons increased, albeit slightly, by $0.07. For Non-Food, the weighted average face value of print promotions increased by $0.22, whereas for digital it fell by $0.38.

Kantar reports 2,219 new products in print and digital promotions. Fully 90% of these new products were first seen in digital, while Food products comprised 73% of new product promotions.

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