Coupon usage increases for first time in 17 years

For the first time since 1992, consumer coupon usage is on the rise. In 2009, consumers used more coupons than they did the year before, with 3.3 billion consumer packaged goods coupons redeemed, a 27 percent increase over 2008, according to Inmar, a promotion transaction settlement provider.

Also increasing was the coupon distribution rate. It hit the highest level recorded since Inmar began tracking trends in 1988.

The rise in coupon use started in October 2008, coinciding with news of the U.S. financial crisis. That has led to five consecutive quarters of double-digit growth.

The increase in redemption goes hand-in-hand with an increase in distribution. Despite the tight economy, marketers invested heavily in coupons, boosting the number available to the highest level in more than 30 years. 

“Brands saw coupons as a key to maintaining brand strength,” Matthew Tilley, director of marketing for Inmar’s promotion services division, said in the release.  “If they reduced their promotional presence, they stood to lose sales to lower-priced competitors and store brands, so they doubled down hoping to create brand loyalty once the economic dust settles.”

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