Millions of U.S. households continue to be squeezed by the slow recovery of the U.S. economy. Meat price hikes also intensify pressure on budgets. This tandem led consumers to redeem 2.9 percent more packaged goods coupons in 2014 than in 2013. People felt compelled to save where they could when acquiring food, beverage and household goods - and coupons secured them $100 million more in savings this past year, a total of $3.6 billion. Marketers helped that happen by increasing the average face value of coupons distributed: food coupons rose 6.0 percent to $1.06 in 2014 from $1.00 in 2013; non-food coupons rose 3.5 percent to $2.05 from $1.98. This led to a 6.2 percent average jump in coupon face value to $1.72, up from $1.62. In all, the face value of distributed coupons rose by 4.5 percent to $533 billion in 2014 from $510 billion in 2013.
The figures from the NCH Annual Topline View CPG Coupon Facts for Year-End 2014 represent a center-store crowd of manufacturers increasing its commitment to a classic consumer savings instrument - in order to help its own volume movement figures vs. the more robust sales advances made by perimeter perishables departments in the supermarket. Retail RDs can leverage this trend in a variety of ways including:
"In the food segment," explains Charlie Brown, vice president-marketing at NCH, "marketers distributed 10.4 percent fewer coupons and redemption fell by 10.3 percent from 2013. With 43 percent of food coupons requiring the consumer to purchase two or more items [up from 42 percent in 2013], a drop in redemption volume had an even greater impact on the quantity of product moved with a coupon for food marketers and retailers."
This trend caused the grocery channel to redeem 5.1 percent fewer coupons in 2014 and mass to redeem 3.3 percent fewer coupons in the same period. "Yet the vast majority of redemption - nearly 80 percent - occurred in these two channels," he added. For the dietitian, this suggests a clear focus on coupons where appropriate within programs and events as they continue to be important to shoppers.
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