Call us recessionistas, frugalistas or just plain cheap: The weak economy has forced American shoppers to look hard for good deals.
But perhaps we are tiring of all the effort that goes into penny-pinching. Coupon use, which surged in 2009, appears to have flattened out, according to the coupon processing company Inmar.
Inmar tracks the use of traditional coupons clipped out of newspaper inserts or printed off the Internet and redeemed for consumer goods such as diapers and milk. The figures do not include hotel or restaurant coupons or discount vouchers of the type popularized by Groupon.
Use of coupons grew just 1 percent in the second quarter of this year, compared with a whopping 33 percent increase in the same quarter of 2009, according to the latest Inmar figures provided to Life Inc.
Coupon clipping faded during the early 2000s but enjoyed a huge resurgence in 2009. Americans redeemed 3.3 billion coupons for consumer goods that year, a 27 percent increase over the 2.6 billion redeemed in 2008.
That may partly have been because there were more coupons available. Inmar says 367 billion coupons were distributed in 2009, the most in at least 20 years.
This year, companies aren’t as coupon-happy, with the number of coupons available down 6 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier.
When it comes to coupon use, consumers seem more interested in deals on bread and cheese rather than paper goods or sandwich bags. Coupon usage for food items grew 11 percent in the second quarter, while non-food items fell by 17 percent.
Thanks to MediaPost, which first reported the story.