retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In North Carolina, the News & Observer reports on a new study from NCH Marketing saying that "US consumers last year redeemed 2.9 billion coupons on consumer packaged goods," a number that was down 17 percent from 2011 - even though the number of total paper and digital coupons remained steady at 305 billion.

The story notes that "coupon-industry insiders disagree on whether the drop is an aberration caused by a poor mix of coupon offers in 2012 or whether it signals the beginning of the end of the paper-coupon era ... Coupon redemption reached 3.5 billion coupons in 2011, which was a 6 percent increase over the previous year and a 26 percent increase since before the recession."
KC's View:
The position here - based on nothing other than common sense - has long been that coupons distributed en masse are a dying enterprise, because too many of them are simply irrelevant to the people who get them. I'd have to bet that fewer than three percent of the coupons that show up at my door have anything to do with how I live my life and do my shopping.

In the current climate, the companies with the most and best actionable information, and then does something with it, will be the ones that win.

Remember the numbers quoted by Gary Hawkins at the recent National Grocers Association (NGA) convention? He said that Kroger is sending out personalized promotional pieces to 10 million shoppers on a quarterly/seasonal basis, and is getting a 66 percent response rate. "They are weaponizing big data," he said.

This is not about the effect of the recession on couponing. This is about how consumers are changing, and what they want, and how savvy marketers can react to that.

Couponing, as we have known it, is a dead industry walking.