£3.4bn saved through coupons and vouchers in 2016, Valassis reveals

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Savvy shoppers are continuing to use coupons, saving billions a year. Almost all consumers use coupons when supermarket shopping (99%) and almost all (96%) are actively looking for promotional offers more often or as much as a year ago. Consumers reported saving £3.4 billion in the 12 months to April 2017. These findings come from a survey by Valassis, the UK’s largest coupon and voucher services provider.

While the appetite for coupons and vouchers remains high, 41% of consumers report that they are receiving fewer than a year ago. The survey’s respondents reported decreases in coupon availability across most of the usual sources, with nearly two thirds (65%) claiming they now receive fewer coupons at till and 35% spot fewer coupons online.

What’s behind the decrease in coupon visibility? Charles D’Oyly, managing director of Valassis UK, explains: “Several grocery retailers have pulled back from using basket price comparisons against other supermarkets, which often resulted in the price difference being printed out as a voucher when checking out. This promotional mechanic has been popular since early 2010, but with the rise of the deep discounters and the need to compete on everyday low prices for household staples, it looks like retailers are not issuing as many of those types of coupons and vouchers.”

Hunger for coupons and vouchers remains high, especially among younger shoppers, with 49% of 16-24 year olds stating they had increased coupon use compared to 33% of all consumers.

Regarding new shopping habits, 20% of all shoppers claim to regularly use online shopping and home delivery, and it is particularly popular among the younger age group. Younger shoppers are also more likely to try other new shopping methods – 11% of shoppers aged 16-24 often use “Click and Collect” compared to 1% of shoppers over 65, and 15% of younger shoppers often use a handheld scanner when shopping, compared to just 2% of all shoppers.

However, some traditional shopping habits remain – most people still use a shopping list, with just 30% saying they never use one for their main grocery shop, suggesting that most shopping decisions are made before setting off to the supermarket. The research underlined this further, with 37% of respondents agreeing that offers will sway what they intend to purchase and what goes on the shopping list.

The research showed that consumers are perhaps choosing more carefully where they shop. Loyalty to retailers is decreasing, with far fewer people using only one supermarket for their regular shop.  Shoppers visiting just one store for their grocery shopping has dropped to just 8% from 12% in the previous year. Likewise, over two thirds of shoppers (67%) report that they use two to three stores on a monthly basis. The research also suggested that the rise of discount supermarkets may be slowing down and falling out of favour – exactly a quarter of shoppers stated that the hassle and inconvenience of shopping in places like Aldi and Lidl were not worth their lower prices. And, over half of all those surveyed (54%) claimed to have used Amazon for their grocery shopping, with 19% using it regularly.

These findings are based on an online survey of 2,000 nationally representative adults, conducted by GfKNOP from 3 to 10 April 2017 on behalf of Valassis.