Platform-A and IRI Release New Research on Couponing Trends

From clipping to clicking: consumer penny-pinching, generational shifts, and decline of newspapers open the door for online coupons

New York, NY – March 31, 2009 – Platform-A’s Business Intelligence organization, in partnership with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), has released the results of a new study on trends in consumer couponing with interesting results. Based on input from more than 36,000 IRI panelists gathered in September, 2008, the study gauged consumer usage of traditional newspaper coupons and interest in digitally distributed online coupons.

"News"The research comes at a critical juncture, when American families are extremely value-focused and eager to stretch their buying power, yet newspaper circulation (and thus the traditional vehicle for coupons) is in steep decline.

“This data highlights a number of trends that are converging to make online couponing an appealing option for CPG manufacturers,” says Mark Ellis, Senior Vice-President, AOL / Platform-A. “We have an economy that makes coupons much more relevant to the average consumer, a rising generation of families totally at home with the Internet, and an overall decline of the newspaper and its Sunday circular distribution. There’s clearly a huge window of opportunity here.”

The study reports that more than 90 million consumers (78% of retail shoppers) currently use newspaper coupons, with nearly one out of every four of the newspaper coupon clippers likely to be at least 65 years old. It also revealed that nearly four out of every 10 shoppers — a total of 40 million consumers — would be very likely to use coupons accessed online. Not surprisingly, the younger the consumer, the more comfortable they were with the idea of accessing coupons online:

  • "News"The youngest market segments are the most receptive to online coupon offers, with 51% of 18-24 year-old shoppers indicating that they would be very likely to use coupons presented to them online.
  • While historically ambivalent to traditional coupons, younger couples are the most likely life-stage group to use online coupons, indicating an opportunity to influence product choices within this segment. 
  • Young couples without children are among the respondents most likely to use a coupon they found online, followed by shoppers with younger children.

Value-focused promotion is clearly the strategy of choice right now in the CPG market, evident in the fact that eight out of Platform-A’s top 10 CPG clients use value-based messaging in their online advertising. And, many of these advertisers are already taking advantage of the innovative approaches to couponing available online, such as AOL’s Shortcuts.com. Launched in 2008, the site allows consumers to apply online coupon promotions directly to their grocery loyalty cards, making coupon discounts paperless and automatic at checkout.  

“What’s particularly remarkable about the study results is how open young people are to the idea of using coupons online — even though clipping coupons from the newspaper really hasn’t been their thing,” adds J. P. Beauchamp, senior vice president, IRI Consumer & Shopper Insights. “I think we’ll be seeing CPG manufacturers jumping on this trend — using online coupons to court a new generation of consumers and build loyalty during these cost-conscious times.”

About Platform-A
Platform-A, AOL’s advertising business, is the industry’s largest digital advertising platform, offering the most comprehensive suite of marketing solutions, powered by the Web’s best advertising technologies. Platform-A includes AOL’s leading media properties — AOL.com, AIM, MapQuest, and more — and Advertising.com’s third-party networks. Platform-A also includes TACODA’s audience insights and behavioral targeting; Quigo, a site- and content-targeting solution; ADTECH, an international digital ad serving business; Third Screen Media, a mobile ad serving network; and buy.at, an affiliate marketing solution. Platform-A currently has operations in the United States, nine countries across Europe, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the UK, and in Japan through a joint venture with Mitsui. Learn more at http://www.platform-a.com

About Information Resources, Inc.
IRI is the world’s leading provider of consumer, shopper, and retail market intelligence and insights supporting 95 percent of the FORTUNE Global 500 consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail and healthcare companies. Only IRI offers the unique combination of integrated market information, automated and predictive analytics, innovative enabling technologies, and domain expertise.  With IRI, leading retailers and manufacturers are able to quickly discover breakthrough insights driving smarter decisions and actions across the enterprise for breakthrough results. Companies around the world depend on IRI for improved productivity, stronger brands, and dramatic revenue growth. For more information, visit http://us.infores.com.

Note: Metrics data provided by Information Resources, Inc. (IRI)