Key Coupon and Promotion Trends for Q1 2015

Activity remains higher than pre-recession levels due at least in part to the continued notable rise of digital offers

Winston-Salem, N.C.April 21, 2015Inmar, a company that operates intelligent commerce networks, announced that, according to its data and trends analysis, more than 660 million coupons were redeemed in the first quarter of 2015. These coupons included offers for both food and non-food items, and were distributed digitally as well as through traditional paper methods. While distribution remained steady and redemption declined slightly from 2014, industry activity remains higher than pre-recession levels due at least in part to the continued notable rise of digital offers.

Among the major promotion methods, coupons distributed via free-standing inserts (FSI) garnered the greatest share of redemption (41.6 percent) and had the largest share of overall distribution at 91.4 percent. This is closely comparable to Q1 2014 when FSIs captured 43.4 percent of overall redemption volume and accounted for 88.8 percent of all coupons distributed.

At the same time, first quarter activity for paperless digital offers mirrored that seen in Q1 2014—with another round of significant increases in distribution volume, redemption volume and share of overall redemption. Distribution for load-to-card offers (L2C) employing a unique offer code increased by 132 percent during the first three months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. This follows a double-digit increase in distribution between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014.

The wider availability of L2C coupons contributed to a greater than 61 percent increase in redemption volume for these coupons during Q1 2015 vs. Q1 2014. Concurrently, overall share of redemption for coupons that shoppers load directly to their retailer loyalty accounts grew from 1.5 percent in Q1 2014 to 2.7 percent in Q1 2015. Inmar’s shopper behavior research continues to find that these digitally discovered offers are highly effective in motivating shoppers, and maintaining both brand and retailer loyalty.

“With traditional paper coupons delivering broad reach and load-to-card offers enhancing personalized shopper engagement, marketers have any number of increasingly innovative methods for executing promotions that align with both marketing plans and consumer preferences,” said Inmar Chairman and CEO David Mounts. “As consumers continue to tell retailers and brands more and more about themselves through their purchases and online behavior, the data needed to optimize consumer promotions are becoming accessible in greater and greater volume. Those marketers who leverage these data and deploy offers through shoppers’ preferred methods will maximize the effect of their promotional spend, grow share and build loyalty.”

Continuing the trends seen in 2014, overall coupon redemption showed a decline of 10 percent in Q1 2015 compared to Q1 2014. Overall coupon distribution remained consistent between the two quarters with 96.7 billion and 97.5 billion coupons distributed, respectively. The average face value for coupons distributed during the first three months of this year was $1.76—a 3.5 percent increase over the same period last year. The average purchase requirement for coupons distributed also dropped by 4.3 percent between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015. Additionally, redemption periods for coupons distributed contracted to 2.1 months, down 7.7 percent from 2.2 months in Q1 2014, giving consumers less time to redeem their coupons and marketers enhanced control over their financial liability.

Currently, Inmar processes and analyzes more than 2.4 billion coupons and related campaigns annually, making it an expert in planning, executing and measuring promotions. In addition to providing promotion management, coupon processing, business intelligence and analytics, Inmar closely monitors coupon distribution and redemption across the U.S. and Canada, and regularly reports on trends and activity in this sector. 

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