On the beat

The country is coupon crazy

By Jim Bucher

OK, a show of hands out there in Dayton City Paper reader land: How many of you use coupons?Come on, admit it. We’ve all – at one time or another – used a coupon for something. Heck, I saw a young couple coming out of a local hospital maternity unit and the young man looked at his newborn and said, “coupon.” Not sure to this day if they used a coupon towards delivery or if it was their baby’s name.

At any rate, I admit it, I’m a coupon freak. I look everywhere for coupons. In the paper, online, mailers, flyers. I admit it, I’m a coupon nut. Don’t go anywhere without my big coupon holder.

True story: while on a few “dates,” my gal pal would kid me that I used one of those “Buy a $50 gift certificate for $25” coupon deals. She would kid me about it, “Can we go somewhere where you’re not using a coupon?”

The nice side of me just grinned and laughed. The evil side wanted to say, “What does it matter if I use a coupon or not? You’re getting a free meal out of it and I don’t see you making a move for your purse.” Thought better of it and kept my mouth shut.

But what is it about our culture now where if you don’t use a coupon, you are more unlikely to make a purchase? Many restaurant owners I talked to say the same thing, if patrons don’t think they’re getting some sort of “deal” they go elsewhere.

True story: Recently, I witnessed a prominent realtor here in the Miami Valley at one of the big box, discount, all-in-one stores using coupons. Personally, I love the buy-one-get-one-free coupons and the “text” coupons.

Coupons work – they bring customers into an establishment, with the owners of said business counting on you to spend more money on top of your discount and, of course, hoping you’ll come back for a return visit.

Everyone is getting into the act.

Kohl’s offers up to a 30 percent discount with a coupon. You can receive coupon codes from Cassano’s, Sonic, McDonalds, etc. on your smartphone. Kroger tracks what you purchase grocery-wise and sends coupons the old-fashioned way – in the mail – based on what you last put in your pantry. Plus, they offer fuel discounts.

Heck, even my new business, buchtvguy.com, which specializes in providing social media videos for your business or event, offers a first time customer discount. (Blatant plug for my biz, hoping it squeezes by my Editor, Kyle.)

Back in the day, coupons were few and far between. But now in 2014, they’re everywhere.

Get a load of the latest figures on coupon data from the people who know best, the coupon data information keepers, or something like that. This was all complied in 2013:

- First, 73 percent of U.S. women that go online have printed a coupon from a website.

- 63 percent of U.S. Internet users have used a coupon from a newspaper or magazine.

- 74 percent of U.S. consumers have used a coupon from an ad insert.

- 57 percent of U.S. Internet users have printed a coupon from a website.

- 64 percent of U.S. Internet users have printed a coupon from an email.

- 40 percent of U.S. online women have performed a search because of a coupon.

- 48 percent of U.S. online coupon users use mobile coupons, up from 39 percent in 2012.

- 54 percent of U.S. back-to-school shoppers in summer 2013 cited coupons as the leading factor influencing them to shop at a particular store.

- 74 percent of online sharing activity in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving is related to deals or coupons.

- 18 percent of online display ads for beauty and personal care products feature coupons.

- 56.1 percent of U.S. moms share coupons and sale incentive information on social media sites.

- 17.7 percent of the total business for online small businesses in the next 12 months will be generated by customer acquisition promotions, such as discount deals, daily deals and coupons.

- 34 percent of smartphone shoppers use their devices for mobile coupons.

- 44 percent of North American consumers use coupons for most grocery shopping trips, compared to 25 percent globally.

Whew, that’s a lot of data. But there are plenty of coupon websites and apps out there such as Groupon, Living Social and The Coupons App to help you get started.

So, do you – the readers out there – use coupons? Do you plan your grocery shopping by coupons you possess? Have you used a coupon at a restaurant?

Let me here from you. Let’s share all the ways you save money. Would love to do a follow-up column so we can “share the wealth” of all the great finds out there.

Right now I’m scouring the web for “buy a gallon of gas, get one free.” So far, no luck on that one … but I can dream, can’t I?

 

Cheers,

Buch

For more than 25 years, “Buch” has been a local television icon. Known and loved by thousands in the Miami Valley, his followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and a role model. When it comes to promoting your business, Buch has the ability to grab your customer’s attention. Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

 

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