By Russell Redman, Supermarket News, USA
An inflection point may have been reached in the battle of digital coupons versus print circulars, according to new research from Inmar Intelligence.
In 2020, digital load-to-card (L2C) coupon redemption exceeded that of paper free-standing inserts (FSIs) and was the most redeemed coupon method for the first time ever, according to Inmar’s Promotion Industry Analysis. Digital L2C accounted for 29.3% of all redemption volume, compared with 28% for FSIs.
By share of volume, digital L2C tallied a 27% increase in redemption last year, reported Inmar, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based provider of data-driven technology services for retailers and manufacturers, among others.
The shift to digital stems mainly from lower paper redemption volumes due to decreased FSI volume, pandemic conditions and growth in online grocery use, not lower shopper interest in promotions, Inmar explained. Overall redemption volume fell 21% to 1.05 billion coupons in 2020, slightly smaller than 24% decline to 1.32 billion coupons in 2019. In addition, as more consumers engaged in hybrid shopping behavior — buying groceries both in-store and online — their opportunities to use paper coupons dissipated while engagement with digital coupons accelerated, noted Inmar.
Total coupon distribution in 2020 sank 15% to 200.13 billion, larger than the 12% decrease to 235.46 billion coupons distributed in 2019. Inmar said the drop-off mostly reflects the impact on FSIs from falling newspaper circulation. FSIs have represented about 90% of coupon distribution for each of the past three years and dictate the overall direction of distribution trends, noted Inmar.
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SN, Russell Redman, For first time, digital coupons overtake print circulars in redemption