Digital coupon users in the US shop more frequently and spend significantly more during each trip than the average consumer, according to consumer research by GfK Knowledge Networks and Coupons.com. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

The study examined the shopping behaviour of more than 200,000 households using digital coupons, and compared it to data gathered from 2.3 million shoppers nationwide, and concluded that brands wanting to reach heavy grocery spenders need to seriously consider digital coupon websites as an important part of their coupon and brand advertising mix.

According to Neal Heffernan, SVP & GM of the Behavioral Insights Group at GfK Knowledge Networks, "These findings are different from other studies in both their scale and the fact we measured actual purchase behaviour, not purchase intent, producing extremely accurate results."

The study evaluated the shopping behaviour of households that use digital coupons, and that were identified as having redeemed coupons sourced from either Coupons.com or one of the thousands of other websites in the Coupons.com digital network. Among the study's key findings:

  • Digital coupon users make 22% more shopping trips per year than the average shopper. The digital coupon user and the average shopper make 69 and 57 trips per year, respectively.
  • Digital coupon users spend 23% more per shopping trip than the average shopper. The digital coupon user and the average shopper spend US$55.05 and US$44.87 per trip, respectively.
  • Digital coupon users spend 49% more per year than the average shopper. The digital coupon user and the average shopper spend US$3,803 and US$2,545 per year, respectively.
  • Digital coupon users make 48% more 'stock up' trips (i.e. trips that exceed US$75.00) than the average shopper, with 18.6 and 12.6 stock up trips per year, respectively.

In addition to this research, Coupons.com also conducted a second study to measure timing of the average consumer's next anticipated shopping trip, and found that 62% of visitors to Coupons.com planned to visit a grocery store within 2 days of printing coupons or saving them to a loyalty card, and 43% planned to shop within the following 24 hours. Specifically:

  • 18% expected to shop that day.
  • 25% expected to shop the next day.
  • 19% expected to shop in two days.
  • 22% expected to shop in 3-7 days.
  • 11% expected to shop in more than 7 days.

"Both the GfK research and our own study confirmed that digital coupon users spend more than typical shoppers, make more trips to the grocery store, and shop more frequently," said Steven Boal, CEO for Coupons.com Incorporated. "This really underscores the benefit of digital coupons for marketers, retailers and manufacturers in connecting with this valuable audience."

More than 55.7 million American consumers are now using online coupons, representing 25% of the US population. Users of digital coupons tend to have higher household incomes and are better educated than users of newspaper coupons and the general population overall, belying the perceived low-brow stigma of couponing. The consumer who uses digital coupons has an average household income of US$96,900 per year (20% higher than the US average, and 20% higher than average household income of users of newspaper coupons). Some 38% of those who use digital coupons have a college degree, compared to only 30% of those who use newspaper coupons and 27% of the general population.