As Americans try to save on escalating grocery bills, they seem to have forgotten an old staple: coupons.
For decades, US consumers have clipped printed discounts to save a few cents off shopping cart items when budgets were tight. But the practice is fading, and even the pandemic and the record-high food prices that accompanied it haven’t rekindled American interest.
“The pandemic may put us under even more time constraints,” said Alex McKay, a professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of a new study on coupon use. I get sick and spend less time shopping, which offsets any potential desire to use coupons.”
US consumers began ditching coupons in the 1980s, according to study (pdf), which was also carried out by researchers from the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics and Georgetown University. Overall coupon redemptions fell by more than half from 2006 to 2020, to 1.1 billion, despite increased digital usage.
Data for past years are not yet available, but researchers do not believe the trend has changed.
Why Are Americans Abandoning Coupons?
There are several reasons for the coupon’s withdrawn death. Studies show that many Americans aren’t paying close attention to the prices of commodities, or aren’t aware of small price increases over time, so they can use coupons to pay attention to price increases enough to offset them. sex is low.
“We just know the brands we like and buy them every week when we go to the store,” says MacKay.
Many of those who watch Penny I’m not familiar with coupons. “To use them effectively, you have to develop some habits,” he says MacKay. “A lot of people just aren’t as used to using coupons as previous generations were.”
Instead, consumers are using digital coupons. His third of shoppers who switched to cheaper brands in 2021 used them to do so. research By Inmar Intelligence.
However, the adoption of technology Indefinite By income and age. As coupons are digitized, seniors and low-income people who have less access and ability to use smartphone apps will left behind.
Businesses are promoting more targeted coupons
As shopping becomes more digital, it becomes easier to specifically target the products your customers want. Instead of printing and distributing tons of coupons, businesses are now using data about their customers to promote products they already love.
Vivek Sankaran of Albertsons Companies said in its 2021 earnings call:
Algorithms predict what customers want to buy based on past purchases, and apps automatically apply discounts at checkout It probably won’t be long before reliable paper coupons disappear altogether.