I came across this on MSN this morning and wanted to repost it. Yes, America HAS gone coupon crazy but can you blame us? The economy we live in is terrible and everyone wants to save money.
As coupons have expanded from something you cut from the newspaper to include printable online deals and easy-to-flash smartphone downloads, do you find you’re using them more than in the past? If so, you’re not alone.
In fact, coupon redemption in the United States increased 63% in 2011, and Americans saved $3.7 billion as a result, Coupons.org reports. That dollar figure represents 3.3 billion coupons — 100 million more than were used in 2009.
“Across the country, more Americans than ever before are turning to digital coupons to help them save their hard-earned cash,” Jeanette Pavini, a savings expert with Coupons.com, said in a news release.
Who uses coupons?
Coupons.com recently released its “The Most Frugal U.S. Cities” report, ranking the top 25 couponing cities in America. The five top cities for couponing are:
Though four Southern cities showed up in the top 10, the Midwest ranks as the country’s hottest couponing region, with nine cities in the top 25 and three in Ohio alone (Cleveland and Columbus, as well as Cincinnati). Four Northeast cities — Pittsburgh (No. 13), Washington, D.C. (No. 16), Boston (No. 17) and Philadelphia (No. 25) — made the list, but only two cities in the West: Seattle (No. 14) and Phoenix (No. 23).
The demographics of coupon users are also changing, becoming “younger, more affluent and tech-savvy,” Coupons.org reports. More than half of 13- to 17-year-olds use coupons and coupon codes, and members of households with incomes of $100,000 or higher are twice as likely to print digital coupons than those in homes earning less than $35,000, the site reports. In addition, people with a college education are twice as likely as those who did not finish high school.
What do people use coupons for?
Of course, there’s a difference between clipping a coupon (or accessing one online) and actually using it. When I stumble across a stack of coupons I’ve set aside for later use, I’m usually disappointed to find that at least half of them have expired.
The coupons that are most frequently used are for food purchases, Coupons.org reports, with 2.1 billion food coupons used in 2010, compared with 1.2 billion non-food coupons redeemed. And food coupon use increases near the end of the year.
The top categories for coupon use in 2009 were cereals, baking ingredients, entertainment, nutrition and diet, and bathroom tissue, the site reported.
Coupons getting more popular
The bulk of redeemed coupons — 89% — are still clipped from newspapers, and Internet coupons represent only 1.5% of those used, according to Coupons.org, but that’s changing quickly. In 2011, 20% of smartphone users took advantage of mobile coupons, a 117% increase over 2010.
The site predicts that online coupon users will grow from 2.7 million in 2010 to 35 million in 2014 — an increase of almost 1,300%.
Think it’s not worth the bother searching for all those coupons? Coupons.org reports that “an hour of smart couponing is estimated to yield about $100 in savings.”