Millennials Go Digital for Savings

Digital coupon usage outstrips that of older consumers

October 11, 2017

A new survey on the use of digital and print coupons adds more evidence that millennials are serious about maximizing the value of their purchasing dollars.

The October survey of US internet users by YouGov found that, overall, 34% of respondents said they look for online coupons on a weekly basis, while 40% said the same of print coupons.

Print coupon use was essentially uniform across all age groups, but millennials (in this case, those ages 18 to 34) were clearly more likely to use online coupons, with 42% saying they did so, compared with 35% among 35- to 54-year-olds and 24% of those 55 and older.

The data adds to an expanding group of studies suggesting that millennials—having come of age in an era of price transparency and instantaneous comparative shopping—are likely to gravitate toward value offers, whether in the form of discounts, off-price brands or other money-saving options.

A Q1 2017 survey by IRI found millennials were more likely than internet users overall to buy private-label brands and try lower-priced brands. And while they were slightly less interested in clipping physical coupons, they were significantly more likely to use digital ones.

Similarly, a June 2017 study by Acosta found that 58% of millennials said they use the internet to "find the best restaurant deals," compared with 47% of Gen Xers and 23% of baby boomers.

eMarketer analyst Mark Dolliver, who has written extensively about millennials and their attitudes toward spending, said that the group, burdened by college payments and debt as well as the lingering effects of the economic downturn, is generally cost-conscious.

“Many older millennials face the double challenge of paying off college debt while at the same time dealing with the earning legacy of entering the workforce during the recession,” Dolliver said. “Given their use of digital for researching purposes, it’s not surprising that their digital coupon use exceeds that of older generations.”

Listen in: Are millennials careful with their money or are they, as one critic put it, wasting their cash on avocado toast? eMarketer forecasting analyst Marcus Johnson and demographics specialist Mark Dolliver take a look at the data in eMarketer's "Behind the Numbers" podcast.