Forever Frugal Mindset Leads to $4.6 Billion Coupon Savings in 2011

Press release from the issuing company

Valassis (NYSE: VCI), one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, announced today that shoppers saved $4.6 billion with coupons in 2011 – $500 million more than the previous year – embracing a forever frugal mindset developed during recessionary times. This 12.2% increase is among the findings revealed in the Annual Topline U.S. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Coupon Facts Report for Year-end 2011, released by NCH Marketing Services, Inc., a Valassis company.

This demand for value is also evident in NCH's annual Consumer Survey where 80.6% report using coupons regularly, up 17 share points from pre-recession levels. More than one-third of the survey respondents said they used more coupons in 2011 than the prior year, a 14.3 share point increase from pre-recession levels. Additionally, the Consumer Survey revealed that nearly 91% plan a shopping list with coupons before going to the store, which has steadily increased since pre-recessionary times.

"Consumer shopping behavior has been forever impacted by the slow economic recovery as savings habits have become a way of life," said Suzie Brown, Valassis Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing. "Recognizing this increased demand, marketers continue to be strategic in their promotional strategies to deliver value while still promoting loyalty and meeting their brand objectives in a highly competitive environment."

In 2011, CPG marketers distributed 305 billion coupons, representing an 8.1% decrease from the prior year, a record-setting year for distribution. In fact, the last three years represent the highest annual volumes of coupons distributed since the pre-recession period. Overall, 2011 is comparatively strong to 2007 with 20 billion more coupons available to consumers, indicating continued strong coupon promotional investments by CPG marketers. While there were fewer coupons in the grocery segment, the health and beauty care (HBC) segment maintained a steady volume. HBC products represent seven of the top 10 categories with the highest growth in coupon distribution volume in 2011.

To manage increased consumer demand, marketers continue to modify coupon offer characteristics, as the 2011 Coupon Facts Report indicates:

  • 27% of coupons distributed require multiple purchases, up 2 points from 2010;
  • 9.9 weeks average expiration, down from 10.4 weeks a year ago; and
  • An average $1.54 face value, which remained the same as in 2010.

"We have studied the factors which influence the ultimate redemption of a CPG coupon offer, and 70% of it is directly within the control of marketers, and they are making tactical changes to control redemption liability," said Charlie Brown, NCH Vice President of Marketing. "I would characterize 2011 as a unique year in that overall CPG findings were not representative of what marketers were doing for every offer, brand, category or company.  Many altered their course as the year progressed or changed their promotional strategies and coupon tactics."

Overall in 2011, 89.4% of all coupons were distributed in the free-standing insert (FSI) coupon booklet. With fewer total coupons offered, and strong consumer responsiveness, redemption rates for FSI increased 11.1% on average for grocery coupons and 25% for HBC. Digital coupons, as the newest media choice for marketers to reach consumers, grew with 11% more print- at-home and paperless offers distributed and tracked on NCH's database. According to the NCH Consumer Survey, 64% regularly search the Internet for coupon savings on CPG products, up 13.5 share points from a year ago. However, the total quantity of digital coupons don't yet exceed 1% of all coupons distributed in the United States.

For more information about NCH's 2011 Coupon Facts Report, visit www.nchresourcecenter.com.


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