Corporate Eye

The 80-20 Rules Applies to Coupons Too

couponsAccording to a new study by Nielsen Homescan, the classic 80-20 rule applies to coupon usage, too.  Findings from the study show that 81% of coupons used in the United States during the first six months of 2009 were redeemed by just 19% of U.S. households.

Taking those results a step further, the study found that the top 10% of coupon users (called ‘coupon enthusiasts’) redeemed 62% of manufacturers’ coupons during the study period.

Coupon usage is on the rise with no signs of slowing down, and non-food coupon use is rising twice as fast as food coupon use :

  • Q4 2008: coupon use rose by 10%
  • Q1 2009: coupon use increased by 17%
  • Q2 2009: coupon use jumped by 33%

The interesting thing for marketers to take away from this study is the trend in increased coupon use isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.  In fact, even as the economy recovers, consumers who have gotten into the habit of using coupons during the recession, are likely to continue the habit when their financial situations looks brighter.

However, if companies only use coupons to boost product trials, they’re missing out on a lot of opportunity.  With 20% of consumers using 80% of coupons, they’re certainly a worthwhile audience to target with repeat purchase coupons.  In fact, they might not be a difficult audience to lure to your brand if they have access to your coupons.

And what about the 80% who only use coupons on occasion?  Again, they represent an opportunity.  The right offers in the right people’s hands could make all the difference in the world.  But you won’t know until you try.

Are you using coupons to market your brand and products?  Your competitors might be.  Can you afford not to?

Image: Flickr

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.