US consumers are increasingly using e-coupons, as well as their traditional print cousins, as a way to trim spending as the recession drags on, according to new research from Scarborough Research (August 2009) and recent research from Burst Media (March 2009).
A significant benefit e-coupons hold over traditional print coupons is that they are more targeted to the consumer. "Coupons received via text messaging are typically sent only to consumers who have opted in to receive them. This increases the relevancy of the offer and the potential for the consumer to act on that offer," says Gary Meo, senior vice president of digital media and print services at Scarborough Research. "An additional benefit is the mobility of cell phones and other personal communications devices, which allow consumers to access the coupon at the point of purchase."
Some 8.6 million households in the US—about 8% of all US households—regularly use e-coupons, Scarborough Research found, although the Sunday newspaper remains the most popular coupon source:
E-Coupon Users: Who They Are and Where They Live
Consumers who obtain coupons via text messages and/or email tend to be young, affluent, educated, and female, according to Scarborough. The company's research found that they are:
- 14% more likely than the average adult to be ages 18-24.
- 51% more likely to be a college graduate or have an advanced degree.
- 6% more likely to be female.
The top local market for text message and/or email coupon users is Providence, RI—one or more members of 12% of households in Providence typically obtain coupons via text message or email. Some 11% of households in Washington, DC, Atlanta, San Diego, Austin, and Chicago obtain coupons via email/text message. Usage in other cities, according to Scarborough: