Martin, Coupons Are Hot, WSJ, Feb. 2009.
“Coupons Are Hot. Clipping Is Not”
TIMOTHY W. MARTIN
Before heading to the grocery store, Miranda Wilcox jumps online, where she scours for coupons
on half a dozen Web sites bookmarked on her computer.
Ms. Wilcox, a 32-year-old mother of two from Greenville, N.C., prints out some of the coupons.
Others she uploads directly onto her supermarket rewards card. Recently, Ms. Wilcox shaved
nearly $50 off a $120 shopping bill with the help of coupons she found on the Internet.
"If you can spend about 15 to 20 minutes online, you can save a lot of money," says Ms. Wilcox,
who so far says she has persuaded her friends and aunts -- but not her mother-in-law -- to look
for online discounts. "They load it right onto your card, so I don't have to hassle with all the
clipping," adds Ms. Wilcox, who started clipping coupons when her first child was born in 2004.
Conditions what they are, more shoppers are using coupons to stretch their grocery budgets. In
the past four months, coupon usage has surged about 10%, according to Inmar Inc., a coupon-
processing agent. And increasingly, shoppers are skipping the scissors and getting coupons
online or having discounts sent to their smart phones and rewards cards.
Currently, online coupons account for 1% of all coupons offered nationwide -- but their use is
growing quickly, with redemptions jumping 140% last year, according to Inmar. Manufacturers
are attracted to digital-coupon delivery in part because of its 13% redemption rate -- far above
the 1% redemption rate for coupons found mostly in newspaper inserts, on the back of sales