Consumers Still Prefer Print Over Digital Coupons

April 2, 2018

About half (48%) of adults in the US agree that they prefer to get coupons in the mail, a figure that has risen in each of the past 2 years, according to Valassis’s latest annual survey [download page] of coupon usage. There’s also been upward movement in the share of respondents who prefer to get coupons from a coupon book found in a newspaper, from 37% last year to 42% this year.

In both cases adults are displaying a greater preference for paper coupons than paperless discounts. Some 39% agree that they prefer to get paperless discounts from the internet that they can download onto their store shopper/loyalty card. Meanwhile, slightly fewer (36%) prefer paperless discounts on their smartphone/mobile device.

As one might expect, though, preference has grown most quickly over the past 2 years for paperless coupons.

Meanwhile, there’s also been an increase in the reported usage of mobile savings apps. The most popular of these are grocery/drug/mass stores and/or supercenter savings apps, which are now used by 56% of respondents, up from 51% last year.

Close to half also use cash back/points apps (46%) and coupon apps (45%).

Coupon Usage Follows Preferences

Consumer preference for paper coupons is reflected in their high usage of them: fully 93% claim to use some form of paper coupon, up from 88% last year.

Interestingly, the use of paper coupons is not only high, but growing:

  • 91% use coupons received in the mail (up from 86%);
  • 89% use coupons found in a store (up from 85%);
  • 85% use coupons from newspaper coupons books (up from 82%); and
  • 80% print coupons from their computer (up slightly from 79%).

By comparison, fewer use paperless coupons, but these have gained in the past couple of years, up from 66% in 2016 to 75% this year.

Paperless coupon use is particularly high among parents (92%) and Millennials (88%), per the report.

Other Survey Highlights

In other findings from the study:

  • Fully 94% of the 1,000 consumers surveyed reported ever using coupons, and about half of those (45%) said they use them always (15%) or very often (30%);
  • The percentage of Millennials using coupons always or very often has grown by 9 points since 2016 to 50%; and
  • Frequent coupon users are more likely than coupon users overall to be ages 25-49, own their home, and have children in the household.

The full report, which contains many more findings, is available to download here.

About the Data: The results are based on an online survey of 1,000 adults, with responses weighted by factors obtained from national census data to provide appropriate representations of demographic groups at summary levels.

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