Recession: An Opportunity for iCoupons?

A new study (conducted in February) by ICOM (via MarketingVox) suggests that the recession or pseudo-recession that we’re in now will boost consumer use of coupons. From the study:

Of the 1,529 U.S. consumers who responded to a recent ICOM survey, 67% said they are much more likely, or somewhat more likely, to use coupons during a recession. The breakdown was 45% percent much more likely and 22% percent somewhat more likely.

ICOM’s nationwide survey of U.S. households was conducted in mid-February. The online research was sent to 40,000 households in the ICOM Shopper’s Voice database. Over the past ten years, the average coupon redemption rate has declined to less than 1.0 percent from a level of 1.6 percent across all U.S. coupons distributed.

Broken down by age, 71% of consumers in the 18-34 year-old age bracket said they are much more likely or somewhat more likely to use coupons in a recession. That compares to 68% in the 35-54 year-old bracket and 63% among those 55 years and above.

Geographically, 70% of Midwesterners said they are much more likely or somewhat more likely to use coupons in a recession, versus 69% of Westerners, 64% of Northeasterners and 62% of Southerners.

Income didn’t make a significant difference to respondents, with 68% of those earning less than $50,000 a year saying they are much more likely or somewhat more likely to use coupons in a recession, compared to 67% for those earning more than $50,000.

Despite the relative maturity of the segment and the online activity of Google, ValPak, CoolSavings, Valassis/Redplum, ShopLocal and others there’s still no good, comprehensive coupon destination. (I’m sure these companies would disagree.)

This is also an interesting finding here:

In the area of coupon technology, 58% of consumers responding to the ICOM survey see their coupon use increasing if they could download a coupon from the Internet and have it automatically connected to an electronically swiped frequent shopper card.

AOL’s Shortcuts and startup Caliber Data are working on this problem from differing points of view. AOL is working right now with Kroger’s. Caliber has a broader offering focused on SMBs and promotions, not limited to coupons, that track the online ad to the point of sale (tied to an existing consumer credit card). It’s very interesting and I’ll do a separate post later.


8 Responses to “Recession: An Opportunity for iCoupons?”

  1. earlpearl Says:

    Mike Blumenthal at Understanding Google Maps and Yahoo Local has written several blog entries on coupons and the changes with regard to coupon visibility.

    Of interest, Google Local Business Center has a coupon component. It hasn’t been working correctly or simply for possibly a year. There is a “fix” available which was discovered by someone who commented at google groups for business owners….but one needs to do deep research to find the “fix”.

    It is a natural opportunity for this economy. One would think google would fix the coupon element for businesses within the local business center and market/advertise the availability of this element. A goal of theirs has been to increase traffic into google maps.

    Its a natural opportunity.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Agree. It’s an opportunity that isn’t being fully realized or exploited curiously.

  3. A Step Closer to Solving the Online-Offline Problem « Screenwerk Says:

    […] can help somewhat). Hence this statement from some recently published research that I referenced in this post: 58% of consumers responding to the ICOM survey see their coupon use increasing if they could […]

  4. earlpearl Says:

    Of interest, the cincymommies site you referenced in a different blog entry has a coupon section that is easily found on the site on the top navigation bar. What a great addition to the site. Its also easily monetized. As a visitor to the site…what a great amenity. One of the reasons Sunday editions of newspapers generally have larger readership than daily editions is the addition of so many relevant local add ons… coupons.

    I’d love to find out from Gannett how something like that is working.

  5. Ola Ayeni Says:

    There is no multichanel destination of coupons online, one that provide local valuable offers. Not the 50 cents off, your $2 purchase or the download now this offers on your phone(but have mob ile internet). We need to have an offering that provides coupons via all channels

  6. earlpearl Says:


    I’ve been running a coupon with an attractive money off discount in google for a short period. Not one response yet. The site has generated close to 1,000 google searches during that period. About 1/3 of those searches are for a combination of terms with a local/regional/city description and a variation on the business term. I’ve been checking to see how many searches generate a map, from which one could dig into the info from the local business center and see the discount. I estimate 60-70 of those searches generated a map.

    Not a single reference to the coupon yet. The google coupon is buried on the local information page. Contingent on how many tool bars sit on the top of the page, the coupon might fall below the fold. The likelyhood that one goes to the local information page versus the website, from the map insert is probably less than 50%.

    I’ll be interested to see if the coupon generates responses; ANY RESPONSES.

    Compare that scenario to the cinnymommies site, wherein the coupons are extraordinarily visable.

    I think this aspect of Google Maps is in its infancy in terms of facility of use and actual practicality. Its too bad. In this economy one would think that the visability of coupons would be an effective marketing tool.


  7. Greg Sterling Says:


    That’s all really interesting. Google often will neglect things like this. It’s a shame because of the opportunity, as you discuss.

  8. Retailmenot Launches Local Coupons « Screenwerk Says:

    […] are extremely popular in the recession but also very effective for advertisers. And they help “close the loop” between online […]

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