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A recent dunnhumby survey found that financially-strapped shoppers aren’t happy with their local grocery stores lately. A new Vericast survey has found that deal-seeking shoppers aren’t particularly thrilled with their favorite brands, either.

Together, the surveys appear to show a growing disconnect between what shoppers want, and what brands and retailers are willing to give them.

The latest insights come from Vericast’s 2021 Coupons & Deals Report. “Higher prices are driving more consumers to proactively seek value and use more coupons, discounts and deals than last year,” Vericast says. But, in many respects, “marketers aren’t meeting demand.”

77% of the shoppers surveyed have noticed higher prices in stores. As a result, many of us have changed our behaviors to save money. 53% say they shop at multiple stores to get the best deals, while 45% have switched brands to save money.

And after years of declining coupon use, shoppers say coupons are becoming more attractive as well. 60% say they spend more time looking for coupons, discounts and deals than they used to, and 31% are using more coupons, discounts, and deals than they did last year. That’s especially true among parents with growing kids to feed. And even more affluent customers can’t resist coupons – 76% of shoppers with annual incomes of more than $100,000 say they are highly influenced by discounts, coupons and deals when they go grocery shopping.

But “the conventional coupon balance is out of sync with new behaviors,” Vericast found. “Current coupon distribution and redemption trends don’t add up.”

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According to Vericast-owned NCH Marketing, 93.8% of all coupons distributed so far this year have come in the Sunday newspaper inserts. Yet they made up only 30.8% of the coupons actually redeemed. With 33.2% of the total, digital coupons are now the most popular type of coupon redeemed. In-store coupons, printables and mailed coupons also make up a larger share of coupons redeemed than distributed.

What’s most important to shoppers is having options that work for them. 36% say they want both paper and digital coupons so they have the ability to choose, 33% want exclusive, personalized offers, and 25% want offers that are tailored to their timing – not the day after they make their weekly grocery run, but the moment they’re ready to shop.

Determined deal-seekers know where to find discounts. But Vericast suggests that what we need more of now, are deals that seek shoppers instead of the other way around. “It’s time to cater to how and where people shop,” the company advises marketers. “Rebalance your approach, and get deals in front of your audience — not just the deal-savvy.”

The result could be good news for both shoppers, and marketers. 57% of shoppers say coupons, discounts and deals influence their purchasing decisions, 40% say they feel more positive about a brand or store that offers a coupon or discount, and 39% are more likely to make a repeat purchase. “That sort of goodwill offers up brand loyalty on a plate,” Vericast says.

“Consumers want coupons and discounts but can’t always find them when and where they want to,” Vericast Vice President of Brand Marketing Sarah O’Grady said in a statement. “Moving into the holiday season, there is a sense of urgency and big opportunity for retailers to reconnect with shoppers and build loyalty by delivering value wherever they are.”

It’s been a rough year and a half, in more ways than one. Historically, coupons and discounts become more prevalent during difficult economic times, as marketers try to keep people purchasing even if they’re struggling financially. But today, as millions suffer financial hardships and need discounts and deals more than ever, the opposite of this historical trend is happening – coupons and promotions are fewer and harder to find than even before the pandemic started.

“Deals speak your customers’ language,” Vericast advises brands. “And after 18 months of change, good value will be music to their ears.” So listen up, to find out whether marketers take Vericast’s advice, and start singing a different tune.

2 Comments

  1. I agree. I check this site to find out if it will be worth the Sunday news purchase before buying the paper.Today it is— the Cosequin for dogs $5 coupon makes it worthwhile.

  2. Hello Couponers
    I have stopped buying Sunday papers-prices went up- when I check what’s going to be in them, its seems all are the same every week and not much food ones! So its not worth the money to buy papers- no return at all!

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