Where do you get the majority of coupons that you use? In the Sunday paper, from coupon websites, in the stores? Some new research shows how most couponers prefer to gather their coupons – and which of those coupons they actually end up using.

The insights come from a pair of recent studies conducted by the coupon processing company Inmar. The first, its annual Shopper Behavior Study, asked grocery shoppers where they get their coupons.

It turns out many of us get them wherever we can find them. Shoppers in the survey reported using an average of 5.8 different methods to find coupons. The favorite source of coupons, as you might imagine, is the Sunday newspaper inserts. Despite newspapers’ declining readership, nearly half of all shoppers still use them to get their coupons. Store circulars were second, with 45% of shoppers using them for coupons. Peelies, or coupons on product packages, were third at 40%, followed closely by digital coupons loaded to store loyalty cards, printable coupon websites and coupons printed on or alongside your receipt.

That’s quite a variety of methods – and pretty comprehensive, too. It seems savvy shoppers will leave few stones unturned in their quest for coupons. Beyond those top six, what’s left? Tearpads? Magazines? Free coupons you get after writing to companies to complain about their products?


Clipping coupons, though, doesn’t necessarily correlate to actually using those coupons. Inmar’s second report, its Mid-Year Coupon Trends, notes that a total of 174 billion coupons were distributed in the first half of 2014, up nearly a full percent from this time last year. But only 1.375 billion – or less than one percent – were actually redeemed. That’s down six percent than the first half of 2013.

That’s okay, though, since we’d probably bankrupt most companies if we used every single coupon they distributed.

Just look at the stats surrounding newspaper insert coupons. Despite the fact that half of us look to the Sunday paper to get our coupons, and nearly half of all coupons redeemed come from the Sunday inserts, a grand total of less than a half of one percent of all insert coupons distributed, end up being redeemed. 99.57% of them end up in the trash.

The coupons with the highest redemption rate are “instant redeemable”, otherwise known as peelies. More than 20% of peelies placed on packages were used in the first half of this year, up 5.5% from the same time last year.

Of course, that raises the question – are the other 80% of products with peelies on them just not selling, or are people buying them without even bothering to use the free money stuck to them?

Oh well, their loss. They must be the same people who are throwing out 99.57% of the Sunday insert coupons. With stats like that, companies will never go bankrupt providing deals for the rest of us – and if you count on coupons to stretch your budget, that’s the best coupon fact of them all.

One Comment

  1. The peelies are most likely taken off the package and horded! I’ve seen many packages been stripped.
    (Then again, I find some products with expired peelies too)

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