Coupon savings rack up in recession
The web world is turning the coupon business on its head. Just one coupon site, Retailmenot.com offers over 400,000 discounts with more than 100,000 retailers. Traditional sources, newspapers and magazines are feeling pressure from web sites that offer coupon codes you can use immediately online or printable coupons that can be taken to a store.
US based, Coupons.com reports that in the first five months of this year coupon savings were up 212 percent and by years end should hit a billion dollars.
Redflagdeals.com is a nine year old Canadian site now pulling some 2 million monthly visitors. They report that 64 percent of couponers have university or college degrees, equal numbers of men and women and many say they're early adapters of technology. Founder Derek Szeto says "Our success is based on the community for Canadian consumers allowing them to share information and opinions."
Debbie Watson of Toronto is a long time SmartCanucks.ca user. It's Canada's first coupon blog. She tells me, "Couponing is gradually catching on, especially to those households that been affected financially."
The economy may drive the current spike in activity, yet the industry expects the activity to continue. The web has a lot to do with that, reaching a new audience and making it convenient to use coupon codes. Watson cautions, "I would advise consumers to know their prices. Many online codes give an illusion of genuine savings. The best discounts are free shipping instead of a code."
Steven Boal CEO of Coupons.com says "Consumers are adopting digital coupons in droves. We see no slowdown." Coupons.com is rated by Nielsen NetRatings as the number 1 website for coupons with over 17 million monthly visitors. Coupons.com believes some 40 million US consumers used coupons last year, up 46 percent.
Be aware some online sites want you to register before you get coupon codes, which may open you up to some unwanted emails. Watson also warns some coupons are burying in the fine print exactly what qualifies for the discount.
Get ready to consider coupons, tomorrow is Black Friday the huge shopping day at traditional stores in the US and Monday Nov. 30 is Cyber Monday when American retailers offer big online sales.