Coupon Popularity Grows as Economy Slows

Winston-Salem, N.C. Consumers redeemed 2.6 billion manufacturers' coupons in 2007, the same as the previous year, ending a 16-year trend of consumer response to coupons declining, according to Winston-Salem, N.C.-based CMS, a coupon-processing agent.

Prior to 2007, consumer response to coupons consistently declined year-over-year from a high of 7.9 billion coupons in 1992. However, as the economy weakens, coupons are gaining in popularity.

“Coupon response tends to run counter to economic indicators,” said Matthew Tilley, CMS’s director of marketing. “When the numbers indicate a secure economic future, consumers tend to pay less attention to coupons. But, when the numbers indicate an economic downturn, consumers turn to economizing behaviors such as using coupons.”

According to CMS, non-food coupons distribution was up nearly 13% compared with overall coupon distribution, which rose 6%. Food-coupon distribution was down slightly with 2% fewer coupons than in 2006.