It’s a little hard to believe that most major dollar stores didn’t offer digital coupons until a few short years ago. Dollar Tree, for one, didn’t even accept paper coupons until 2012. But in a relatively short time, digital coupons have apparently become the discounts of choice for dollar store shoppers.

According to a new study from Inmar, dollar store shoppers like digital coupons even more than shoppers who frequent more traditional stores. That’s despite the conventional wisdom that might suggest dollar store shoppers don’t have the money for smartphones, and might prefer to stick to good old-fashioned paper coupons they cut out themselves.

As it turns out, Inmar’s survey of dollar store shoppers found that 89% have smartphones and only 28% subscribe to the coupon-filled Sunday newspaper. And while nearly a quarter of dollar store shoppers have an annual household income between $20,000 and $40,000, another quarter report making more than $100,000 a year.

So dollar stores aren’t just for the cash-poor anymore.

Smartphones in hand, then, dollar stores shoppers are looking for digital deals. When asked what types of coupons they use in dollar stores, more than half of the shoppers surveyed said they use digital coupons. 43% said they use both paper and digital coupons, with millennials more likely to opt for digital. Only 32% said they use paper coupons exclusively, and a mere 5% said they don’t use coupons at all.

Dollar store shoppers also said they’re more inclined to use a store’s mobile app if digital coupons are offered. And they have a stronger preference for personalized digital coupons than other shoppers – 75% say that’s important to them, compared to 48% of shoppers who frequent other stores.


Overall, among all shoppers, digital coupon redemption volume increased by 67% last year. Among dollar store shoppers, though, digital coupon use increased by a commanding 275%. And already, this year looks to be on pace to surpass last year’s rate of dollar store digital coupon use.

The increasing adoption of digital coupons at dollar stores comes as dollar stores themselves are becoming more mainstream. Inmar found that, along with limited assortment stores like ALDI and Lidl, dollar stores showed the highest rate of sales growth among all physical stores last year, far outpacing supercenters, traditional grocery stores and others.

63% of survey respondents said they visit dollar stores at least once a month, with 40% visiting at least once a week. Most are looking to buy household products, snacks, party supplies and personal care products, while 43% of millennials say they do their weekly grocery shopping at dollar stores.

Why? Because of the deals. 83% say the main reason they shop at dollar stores is low prices. While shoppers who frequent more traditional stores are more concerned with features like fast checkouts, friendly employees and clean stores, those attributes rank at the bottom for dollar store shoppers. They’re willing to sacrifice some niceties, if the deals are worth it. And if coupons can help them get even bigger discounts, all the better.

“As deal seekers, dollar channel shoppers are looking for both paper and digital coupons,” Inmar’s report concludes. “Retailers and manufacturers should target dollar channel shoppers with saving opportunities through low prices and digital and paper promotions.”

So if you’re looking for good deals, don’t overlook the dollar store. And if you go – don’t forget your coupons. Digital or otherwise.

Image source: Dollar General

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