Infographic: Charting the Death of the Printed Coupon


While the majority of the coupons that are redeemed still take the traditional ink-on-paper form, we're seeing a clear shift into the digital space. And that makes sense. With the rise of smartphones and greater access to the Internet, more and more people have moved most of their shopping online. But that doesn't mean they don't enjoy a good deal.

To lure in shoppers and attract a bigger piece of the market, retailers compete with one another by offering coupons in whatever form their potential customers might want them in, be it paper inserts in the sunday newspapers or emails. In a few years -- by 2014, according to Promotional Codes, which created the infographic embedded below -- the majority of coupon redemptions will take place online.

"The shift to Internet-based coupons is yet another blow to newspaper, which have lost much of their classified ad business to Craigslist and other Internet operations," according to Mashable. "For consumers, though, especially those toting smartphones, redeeming coupons has gotten much easier. If the economy continues on its wobbly course, more people who never considered coupons before will do so, and they'll do it digitally. With any luck that will ease the congestion in those checkout lines as well."

Infographics are always a bit of a hodgepodge of statistics culled from a variety of sources. Here, we sort through the clutter and pull out some of our favorite facts and figures:

  • A rough economy and the advent of mobile phones has reversed a 14-year decline in coupon redemption in the United States.
  • In 1992, consumers saved $7.7 billion by using coupons. By 2006, that amount had fallen to $2.6 billion. That year, the numbers started to climb after falling for 14 years. In 2010, consumers saved $3.7 billion using coupons.
  • Every hour spent couponing in 2011 is worth an estimated $100.
  • As newspaper readership continues to decline and more consumers are looking online for savings, digital coupons are gaining significant momentum.
  • More than 88 million adults in the United States will redeem an online coupon or code for use either online or offline at least once in 2011.
  • Of the 45 million American online coupon users in 2009, almost one third (just over 13 million) did not clip coupons from their Sunday newspaper.
  • While newspaper inserts are still the primary method of coupon distribution (89 percent) and redemption (53 percent), Internet redemption has skyrocketed, rising 263 percent in 2009.
  • By 2013, 96.8 million adults in the United States will redeem an online coupon.

Check out more Infographics on the Technology Channel.


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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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