Several years ago, we mentioned how the Internet and mobile technology offered the promise of changing how coupons will be delivered. The idea was that electronic coupons will be highly attractive to consumers due to the ease by which they can be obtained and redeemed. Yet, in late 2014 the delivery of coupons via methods other than free standing inserts (FSI), such as coupon included in newspapers or in the mail, remains relatively low. In fact, couponing company Inmar reports that 91% of coupons are still distributed using a print version, with much of this still coming from coupons cut from newspapers. (The Inmar site also has useful statistics on various methods consumers use to locate coupons.)
The fact electronic coupons are taking time to be widely accepted should not be viewed as a rejection of this delivery method by consumers. More likely, it is about habit and the routine people follow when retrieving coupons. Strong coupon users tend to have a high affinity for gathering these in a physical way and actually enjoy the activities involving in leafing through printed material and then tearing out the coupons they want.
However, according to this Advertising Age story, the tide may finally be turning in favor of electronic coupons. The story notes how consumers are beginning to accept the electronic coupon in greater numbers, especially load-to-card coupons, which are added directly to a loyalty card a consumer has for specific retailers. The story also offers several interesting statistics on coupons including showing how coupon redemption rates are considerably higher for electronic coupons compared to FSI coupons.