July 27, 2010, 4:08 PM

Digital coupon clipping surged in the first half of the year

Coupons distributed by Coupons.com doubled to more than $1 billion in the first half.

The value of coupons distributed through Coupons.com and its network of affiliated sites reached more than $1 billion in the first half of this year, up from $529 million in the same period last year, Coupons.com Inc. says.

Meanwhile, a separate study, by NCH Marketing Services Inc., reports that the Internet was the fastest-growing coupon distribution channel in the first half of the year. NCH also notes that coupons distributed over the Internet have a redemption rate higher than other forms of coupons.

Coupons.com attributes the growth in digital coupons to a broader use by consumers of printable online coupons and coupons they can save to loyalty cards or redeem through mobile devices. It also attributes the growth to more brands offering digital coupons.

“We expect more brands and more consumers to increasingly adopt digital coupons, and we foresee substantial growth across the entire digital domain—with particular growth within social media and mobile environments,” says Coupons.com CEO Steven Boal.

To support the projected growth, Coupons.com says it plans to hire about 50 people, expanding its work force by nearly 20%.

Coupons.com also cites the following data to show the rise in popularity of digital coupons:

● As of last fall, 46.4 million U.S. consumers were using online coupons, up from 40.2 million a year earlier, according to Experian Simmons, a consumer research unit of Experian Information Solutions Inc. Of consumers using online coupons, 28% did not read a Sunday newspaper in last fall’s study, up slightly from 27% a year earlier, Experian Simmons says.

● The number of searches on Google.com for “printable coupons” increased by 67% from a year ago, according to Google.

● The No. 1 reason why consumers follow a brand on Twitter or Like a brand on Facebook is access to exclusive deals or offers, according to interactive marketing firm Razorfish.

● Eight out of 10 U.S. adults plan to continue using coupons even if economic conditions improve, according to a study conducted for Coupons.com by research firm Harris Interactive.

● Harris Interactive notes that consumers who print digital coupons have an estimated average household income of $96,000, and Experience Simmons finds that adults with a household income of more than $100,000 are twice as likely to have redeemed coupons printed from an online source than adults with household incomes of less than $35,000.

Coupons.com, citing its own data, listed in descending order of importance the top 10 product categories for which consumers redeem coupons for online purchases:

● Apparel & Shoes—Women

● Home & Garden

● Apparel & Shoes—Men

● Toys & Hobbies

● Computers & Software

● Baby & Maternity

● Electronics & Photo

● Books, Music & Movies

● Auto & Travel

● Sports & Outdoors

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