The Impact of Coupons on the Purchase Journey

Roughly 60% of shoppers would use more coupons if they were available online

Author: Jennifer King

April 2, 2018

Though some people prefer to enter the supermarket armed with a detailed grocery list, an attractive coupon can trigger impulse purchases, and encourage consumers to buy something they may have otherwise not. 

In fact, an Inmar survey of 1,000 US grocery shoppers in January 2018 found that nearly four in 10 respondents had bought more than they intended to because of a good deal. And almost as many bought from a brand they wouldn’t have otherwise purchased. 

As expected, consumers continue to rely on a combination of coupon types for savings. Fully 55% of those surveyed said they use both digital and paper coupons.

However, 53% of respondents expressed a desire for all coupons to be digital. What’s more, 63% would increase the amount of coupons used while shopping if the offers were available online.

Despite the interest and convenience of mobile coupons, eMarketer estimates only 53.2% of the adult population will use digital coupons this year. That's an increase of just 3.3% over 2017. 

Indeed, the comfort and familiarity of weekly print circulars have made them a hard habit to break. According to Retail Feedback Group, more than half of US grocery shoppers still look to circulars at home for deals.

Although shoppers haven’t made a complete switch to digital coupons, the format does affect the timeline for purchase decisions, according to the Inmar study.

Of those who rely on digital coupons while shopping, 82% redeem the offer within a week. And three in 10 apply the discount to a purchase less than 24 hours after receiving it.

Still, many shoppers (43%) miss out on savings because they forget to redeem digital coupons at checkout.

To diminish missed savings, scan-and-go apps—which drew interest from 60% of respondents in Inmar's survey—may be an opportunity for retailers. The technology allows consumers to scan product SKUs, see and apply available discounts, and pay for their order without waiting in a checkout line.