With coupons and discount vouchers commonly available through direct mail, newspaper supplements or special publications, brick-and-mortar retailers and grocery chains have now also moved on to producing digital coupons that allow customers access through their various online devices. Online retailers also frequently offer coupons and special offers which are usually termed as promotional codes, discount codes or special vouchers that frequently include free shipping or a percentage or specific dollar discount.
Whereas the traditional, offline coupon and daily deal industry has been around for decades, it is the digital and mobile coupon and voucher industry that has taken off immensely since the increasing usage of online and mobile internet services. As of November 2016, about a third of shoppers in the United States used their smartphone to check for coupons, sales or special offers. Current industry figures indicate more than 120 million digital coupon users in the United States.
Customers also frequently search for coupons themselves. Coupon apps also rank among the most popular retail apps in the United States – as of May 2016, coupon app users expected to be able to access and save coupons as one of the core functionalities of a retail app. About 30 percent of U.S. coupon users had installed apps to receive and manage coupons on their mobile device, with 13 percent saving them in dedicated apps such as mobile wallets.
Due to the increasing usage of smartphones during shopping, location-based offers and in-store deals have become an attractive way to interest customers in new brands or products. Daily deal sites and coupons are also a powerful marketing tool and rank among the most likely promotional tools that influence purchase decisions of consumers in the United States. In fact, the majority of consumers connecting with brands on social media do so in the hope of receiving regular coupons and other promotions. During a recent survey of U.S. consumers it was found that many shoppers also like to receive coupons when participating in loyalty programs.
Market leader Groupon was placed first as the best-known coupon website in August 2016. Other coupon pages that U.S. coupon users were aware of include coupons.com, retailmenot.com and livingsocial.com.
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