August 21, 2004

The Promotion Marketing Association (PMA) Coupon Council announced 2003 coupon distribution and usage data in advance of September, the seventh annual National Coupon Month.

According to the PMA Coupon Council, manufacturers offered more than $250 billion dollars in coupons in 2003, resulting in $3 billion in consumer savings. Total coupon spending by marketers was also slightly up this year, from $6.8 billion to $7 billion. The average face value of manufacturer’s coupons offered to consumers increased 4.9% to $.85 – more than double the pace of the Consumer Price Index, which climbed only 2.3% in 2003. The average expiration period remained relatively stable at three months.

"While the data clearly supports the use of coupons as a key promotion tactic to increase sales and brand loyalty, consumers do tend to take issue with too-short expiration dates," said Charles Brown, co-chair of the PMA Coupon Council. “As tight restrictions can suppress the response and ROI on any coupon initiative, businesses might consider extending expiration dates allowing for greater consumer participation."

Manufacturer offers are just one slice of the coupon pie – retailers are increasingly turning to coupon promotions to help attract, retain and reward loyal shoppers – in fact, in 2003, 46% of retailers reported offering some form of a bonus coupon program.

Lorraine Gallaher, co-chair of the PMA Coupon Council, remarked, "Ranging from their own offers to doubling the face value of manufacturer’s coupons, retailers view coupons as a new weapon in their competitive arsenal."

"It is interesting to note that the largest group of coupon users by education are those with the most advanced degrees – post-graduates at 79% (as compared to 76% for high school and some college)," said Brown. "This further supports the notion that consumers of all demographics, including individuals in the highest income and education brackets, recognize the benefit of using coupons, making this promotional tactic ideal for any business looking to meet their business objectives."

To view charts CLICK above on 'More Images'.

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