North American (US and Canada) Internet users have responded to the economic downturn by using the Web to save money. Coupons have played a large role.
According to the “State of the US Online Retail Economy in Q1 2009” study, from comScore, online coupon services have enjoyed a huge surge in popularity during the recession. Since March 2008 year-over-year growth has been steady, and often substantial—reaching 46% in December 2008.
comScore also reported that searches for the word “coupons” were up 90% during the same period. And one-quarter of Internet users surveyed said coupon sites had been very important to them in the past three months.
Unfortunately, along with the rise in coupon usage has come a rise in coupon fraud. However the cost of coupon fraud in the tens of millions of dollars for US businesses alone.
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Bud Miller of the CIC (Coupon Information Corp.).
Of course, consumers still do most of their coupon-clipping in the physical world rather than online. Nearly one-half of respondents in the comScore study got coupons from Sunday fliers. In-store coupons and coupons printed on receipts or packaging were also popular.
About three in 10 consumers reported getting coupons either from an online service or a brand’s Website.
There is a downside to online coupons, however. The Web makes it difficult to control how coupons are printed and transferred, causing problems for some consumer manufacturers.
Nevertheless, coupons are a proven way to get consumers out to the store and into your product.
37% of people get coupon in the mail; 31% using online coupon service; 29% get coupon from merchant’s brand site.
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