Coupon craze reaches new heights

by Team on 10/06/2014

UK shoppers redeemed 603 million coupons in 2013 – up 35% from 2012 and worth £1.7billion

UK shoppers’ appetite for coupons has reached new heights, increasing by over a third (35%) in 2013 compared to the previous year. According to coupon experts Valassis Ltd, coupons and vouchers worth £1.7billion were redeemed last year showing that the coupon craze is far from over even though the economy is strengthening. This means the average household redeems coupons and vouchers worth approximately £64[1] in a year.

Figures from Valassis retailer clients reveal the following:

– Coupon and voucher redemptions increase by 35% with 603 million coupons redeemed in 2013, up from 448 million in 2012
– The total value of coupons and vouchers redeemed is £1.7billion
– Retailer-issued coupons have driven growth, but manufacturer-issued coupons are increasing

The figures from Valassis, which works with 85% of the market, show that coupon redemption is continuing its upward trend, with volumes increasing by 223% since 2010.

Retailer-issued coupons are driving most of the growth and account for 71% of redemptions or 466 million coupons.

Charles D’Oyly, managing director of Valassis, comments:

“The 35% increase in coupon redemptions in 2013 is exceptional. Bearing in mind that retail sales in 2013 grew by just 1.6% compared with 2012[2], such growth is remarkable.

“The recent increases in retailer-issued redemptions are primarily due to the popularity of coupon-at-till promotions and price matching promises which mean the consumer would not have been able to buy certain items as economically elsewhere.”

Compared to 2012, and indeed any of the last five years, redemption of manufacturer-issued coupons is rising once again and 2013 saw a 50% jump in the volume of such redemptions, compared the previous year.

Charles D’Oyly continues:

“What’s behind this growth? Our recent research indicates that consumers’ use of coupons is widespread across all demographics[3], and supermarkets have responded accordingly by increasing their use of coupons as the promotion of choice for targeted consumer offers.

“We were also encouraged to see that part of the overall growth was driven by manufacturer coupons which have been largely flat for a number of years.  We attribute this resurgence partly to increased awareness of couponing’s efficiency and effectiveness as a promotional tool, as well as the tendency for manufacturers to take their lead from retailers’ promotional activity. In 2013, average face value decreased from £1 to 85p, which suggests that manufacturers are refining their coupon tactics and trying to find optimal offer points that trigger behavioural change with consumers.”


TLC’s own experience of the door drop market during 2013 falls in line with the findings above, arranging door to door distribution for an increasing number of f.m.c.g. brands in the form of a physical coupon, with volumes significantly up on 2012 statistics.

We believe that there are several reasons for this door to door activity, including the ability to target the coupon leaflet distribution to clusters of households as small as 150 at a time, using our SMART-Drop software – be it through team distribution and/or free newspaper distribution, often alongside Royal Mail door to door distribution.

Furthermore, it is possible to forecast and measure, at store level, the effectiveness of these printed coupons.

TLC expect to see the use of printed coupons, delivered into consumer households via door drop distribution channels, to continue to be a prominent part of f.m.c.g. client activity as we go through 2014 and into 2015.


1.  The Office of National Statistics Families and Households 2013 bulletin states that there were 26.4 million households in the UK in 2013
2.  The Office of National Statistics Retail Sales bulletin, December 2013
3. Valassis Gfk NOP research findings in November 2013 showed that 39% of ABs planned to use ‘everyday low price promises’ as part of their Christmas grocery shop, compared to 51% across other demographics



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– who has written 51 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.

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