Clipped coupons with scissors


Hope you enjoyed it these past few years, because “extreme couponing” is apparently dead. At least that’s according to a couple of new reports, which say marketers have managed to turn “extreme couponing” into just plain “couponing” again.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

The pair of mid-year coupon reports, from NCH Marketing and Inmar, show that manufacturers have just about succeeded in pushing redemption rates down to where they were before the economy started sliding and couponing took off. Now we can all coupon like it’s 2008 again.

Their numbers are different, but their conclusions are similar. Inmar’s figures show coupon use fell 6.6% for the first half of 2013, while NCH Marketing’s report says it fell 8.1%. That’s despite the fact that coupon values are on the rise, and the number of coupons available has increased as well, a finding echoed by an earlier report from Kantar Media (read: “Coupons Are Getting Much Better (But the Expiration Dates Still Stink)”).


NCH Marketing suggests it’s all part of the plan. Yes, coupon values are up, but “NCH has observed the continuation of tactical adjustments that further minimize redemption liability.” In plain speak, that means manufacturers are purposely making their coupons less attractive, so we’ll use fewer of them. Expiration dates continue to get shorter, and there are more purchase requirements, such as $1/2 instead of $1/1.

As a result, coupon use declined sharply last year, a trend that’s continued so far this year. The rate of decline is slowing, though, which NCH takes as a sign that the “market correction” is nearing completion. At the current pace, coupon redemption by year’s end should be about equal to the redemption rate in 2008, just before it first shot through the roof.

While coupon use was down across the board, not all types of coupons suffered a decline. Inmar notes that the digital coupon redemption rate shot up 234% in the first six months of this year – though digital coupons still represent just 2.5% of all coupons redeemed.

The redemption rate for print-at-home coupons rose 12.1%, and peelies (or “instant redeemables” as the professionals say) experienced the largest growth rate among physical coupons, up 23% from the same time last year.

So it seems we like peelies and printables, but are otherwise unimpressed. But apparently manufacturers aren’t really out to impress us anyway.

Image source: Chris Potter


  1. I just made money at Walgreens. That is extreme couponing to me. It doesn’t have to be buying lots of food, or getting it all for free. I love to save money and coupon and will continue to coupon.

  2. “manufacturers are purposely making their coupons less attractive, so we’ll use fewer of them”

    What???? Am I the only one who thinks this is bizarre? Why the *heck* are they spending the money to PRINT coupons that they want people to throw away?
    That has got to be one of the most asinine things I have ever read/heard! That’s like saying Toyota is intentionally building ugly cars so people won’t want to buy them.

    BTW-Thank goodness extreme couponing is going the way of the ‘pet rock’. It was pretty dumb, grabbing a lot of free stuff you will never use and eventually wind up throwing away. (Even ‘1,000 bottles of mustard’ has a shelf life.)

    • Did u ever stop to think that some extreme couponers donate some of their stockpile and give away to family and friends? I am an extreme Couponer and it surprises me that there are so many coupon haters! Why is that? BTW I only have 3 bottles of mustard in my stockpile, but I certainly have a stockpile of non-perishables!

  3. Extreme couponing is not dead, especially at my house.

    • I agree…not dead for me or anyone in my area as well. Shelves are always cleared at every store and it hasn’t slowed since I started couponing 3 years ago….no biggie just get a reincheck. I can’t stand when people stand on their soap box and judge others for being an extreme couponer…judge me now…because you didn’t watch me hand out stuff to people in a parking lot yesterday. I do what I can to help my community, friends, and family…without sacrificing my dignity.

      If I want to eat expired mustard…that’s my business btw.

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