January 31, 2013, 3:40 PM

Mobile coupon redemption will grow 50% worldwide in 2013

Consumers will use 10 billion mobile coupons this year, Juniper research predicts.

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Consumers worldwide will redeem 10 billion coupons on their smartphones and tablets this year, up 50% from 2012, Juniper Research predicts. Those redemptions include shoppers who scan coupons in stores on their smartphones and those who find coupons on mobile devices at home, then print them and bring them into stores, says Windsor Holden, the author of the mobile couponing report from Juniper, which specializes in research related to wireless networks and mobile technology.

“With tablets, the play is really more about the migration of online activity (including coupons) from the desktop to the tablet device,” Holden says. “That’s a particularly marked trend in e-retail in general.”

For examples of how consumers today are redeeming mobile coupons, he points to companies such as TwtQpon, which allows retailers to create custom Twitter coupons that can be redeemed online or in-store via a print-out, and chain retailer Walgreen Co., which offers mobile coupons to consumers who use a social check-in service at a store. Walgreen is No. 33 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Consumers redeem mobile coupons more than 10 times as often as they do coupons clipped from print publications or printed from their computers—10% of the time for mobile discounts versus less than 1% of the time for traditional coupons, the report says.

Apple Inc.’s Passbook mobile wallet is helping drive the trend towards more mobile coupon redemption, Juniper says. Passbook allows shoppers with iPhones or iPads to store coupons in one location and present them on their smartphones or tablets to a cashier who scans them or keys in coupon codes.

However, the growth in mobile redemption is hampered by the reluctance of retailers that operate stores to install optical scanners that can scan coupons on smartphone screens, Holden says. Apple also limited adoption by not including in its iPhone5 technology known as  Near Field Communication that would let a consumer wave her handset past a compatible store terminal to redeem a coupon or make a payment.

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