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forrester-frequency-of-coupon-use-oct11.gifThe usage of online coupons by US consumers is increasing, according to [pdf] a survey from Forrester Research. Results from “The Impact of Online Coupons and Promotion Codes” indicate 66% of consumers will use online coupons for at least 25% of their purchases in the next 12 months, a 20% increase from 55% who used online coupons for at least 25% of their purchases in the last 12 months.

This includes a 19% jump in consumers who will use online coupons for 25-50% of their purchases in the next 12 months (26% to 31%) and a 21% increase in consumers who will use online coupons for 50% or more of their purchases in the next 12 months (29% to 35%).
Among respondents with children, there is particularly strong 43%growth in plans to use online coupons for 50% or more of purchases in the next 12 months (28% to 40%). This increase drives a 30% overall increase in plans to use online coupons for 25% or more purchases in the next 12 months (56% to 73%).

Online Spending Up Among Families Using Online Coupons

forrester-online-coupon-spend-oct-2011.JPGWhile online spending among all US online coupon and promotion code users is expected to increase just 2% in the next year (from $1,397 to $1,428), online spending among families that use online coupons and promotion codes is expected to increase in the next year by 11% (from $1,539 to $1,712).

In addition, the overall US online coupon and promotion code user population expects to increase how much they save in the next year by using online coupons. and promotion codes a full 27% (from $192 to $245), even though they only anticipate increasing their total online spending by 2%. Similarly, families that use online coupons and promotion codes anticipate increasing how much they save in the next year by using online coupon and promotion codes by 23% (from $214 to $263), even though they only expect to increase their online spending by 11%.

But perhaps the most telling spend/save comparison manifests itself among respondents under the age of 32 who anticipate increasing how much they save in the next year by using online coupons and promotion codes by 29% (from $195 to $252), even though they do not expect to increase their spending at all.

All three segments anticipate spending either the same or just slightly more online in the next 12 months, but expect to save a whopping 20% to 30% more. In short, Forrester analysis indicates all three segments expect online coupons and promotion codes to produce substantially more savings for them on a marginal basis next year than online coupons and promotion codes did last year.

Active Coupon Users Spend More Online

To isolate for the incremental effect of online coupon and promotion code use on spending, Forrester analyzed the behavior of “active” coupon users. To qualify as “active” users, these individuals must have redeemed online coupons more than the average reported in the survey of six times in the past 12 months. Forrester analysis was based on the premise that if active coupon users were to spend less online than average users or light users, that would indicate that using more coupons fails to induce new and incremental spending.

But in the case of those who redeemed more than six coupons in the past 12 months, their average reported online spending was 80% more per year than light users ($1,850 compared to $1,025), and 32% more than the mean spend of all US coupon users ($1,397). In addition, those who said they “increased” their coupon use in the past 12 months spent 14% more on average ($1,523) than those who indicated that their use of coupons “stayed the same” in the past 12 months ($1,340).

Future Coupon Users Will Also Spend More

Forrester data also shows that those who are likely to use more online coupons in the next 12 months will spend nearly three times as much online as those who are not likely to use more online coupons in the next 12 months ($1,635 compared to $613). Similarly, those likely to use more coupons in the next 12 months expect to spend 14% more than the average US online coupon user expects to spend in the next 12 months ($1,428).

RetailMeNot.com: Online Discounts Promote Loyalty

Eight in 10 (82%) online shoppers say they are more loyal to businesses that offer regular discounts than to businesses that offer occasional discounts, according to data released in August 2011 by RetailMeNot.com and Harris Interactive. Despite this high preference for discounts, only 27% of online shoppers use coupon sites, while 22% use daily deal sites.

About the Data: In this study, Forrester surveyed 504 US-based coupon users and interviewed five e-commerce executives from large companies across various industries (clothing and apparel, home and garden, food and entertainment, and travel) who are currently responsible for online couponing to evaluate their perceptions and understanding of the online coupon market. The study began in July 2011 and was completed in August 2011.

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