According to Nielsen, a category of consumers it calls “coupon enthusiasts” account for the lion’s share of coupon-related purchases in America:
Eighty-one percent of the units purchased using manufacturer coupons came from just 19 percent of U.S. households during the twenty-six week period ended June 27, 2009.
The most avid users, called “coupon enthusiasts,” are households that purchased 104 or more items using manufacturers’ coupons. The 10 percent of shoppers that fall into this category accounted for 62 percent of manufacturers’ coupon units. They also accounted for 16 percent of total unit sales making them a very attractive and important consumer target.
Nielsen also reports “that more and more consumers are using coupons for both food and non-food items. In Q4 2008 non-food redemptions were -3 percent. However, in the second quarter of this year redemptions for non-food items were up 46 percent. Food coupon redemptions were +21 percent in Q4 2008 and increased 27 percent in the second quarter of 2009.”
Putting aside the growth figures, the takeaway is that there’s a minority of users who are the heaviest coupon consumers — although the recession has broadened the usage of coupons.
These data refer to traditional coupons. In mobile, coupons have different demographic appeal than traditional paper coupons. And earlier this month Scarborough Research found that among the ways US consumers get coupons, newspapers remain the top source but SMS (and email) now have overtaken “Internet sites.”