Thursday, February 19, 2009

Coupon Sites Grow at a Fast Clip - eMarketer

Coupon Sites Grow at a Fast Clip - eMarketer

Coupon Sites Grow at a Fast Clip

FEBRUARY 18, 2009

Recession drives consumers to the Internet for savings

In a rough economy, frugal shoppers are turning to coupons. comScore’s “State of the US Online Retail Economy: Q3 2008” report said that 62% of responding US consumers who were decreasing their shopping expenses in October 2008 were using coupons more often to do so—the third-most-popular strategy.

But don’t reach for the scissors just yet. Coupon Websites that find deals in a few keystrokes or clicks are both easier to search and tend to have more savings. According to comScore Media Metrix, coupon sites were the fastest-growing online category in November 2008, up 32% from October to 35.6 million visitors.

Top 10 Website Categories Among US Internet Users, Ranked by Growth in Unique Visitors, October & November 2008 (thousands and % change), a site that allows consumers to select and print coupons that can be redeemed at stores offline, had 8.5 million visitors in November 2008. Compete has since reported the site receives over 14 million unique monthly visitors.

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“Our network is 72% female college-educated homeowners with kids at home,” Steven Boal, CEO of Coupons Inc.—which runs the site—told eMarketer. “About 0.5% of the coupons sent in the Sunday paper are redeemed, whereas 17% is the average number of coupons printed to redeem off our network. There are typically anywhere between 85 and 120 offers, depending on when in a month you go [to].”

As consumers—most of them female—turn to the Web for coupons, they’re still finding deals in more traditional ways. In an October 2008 survey of 2,000 female Internet users ages 18 and older by SheSpeaks, 76% of respondents reported sharing offline coupons found in magazines, direct mail or newspapers with their friends. Of the same group, 66% shared online coupons that could be printed and then used in stores.

Promotions that US Female Internet Users Share with Their Friends, October 2008 (% of respondents)

“The rough economy has motivated consumers to become more resourceful in how they use the Internet to research potential online and in-store purchases,” said eMarketer senior analyst Jeffrey Grau. “The future looks bright for coupon sites as financially strapped consumers rely on the Internet to stretch their dollars.”

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