Report: FSI coupon activity down in 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — Free Standing Insert coupon activity dropped 3.9% over the first six months of 2011 versus the same time period a year ago, Marx, a Kantar Media solution, reported on Wednesday. 

The decline is the first reported in the first half of the year since 2008, when there was a 3.4% decline. 

“After several years of significant growth, FSI coupon activity may be stabilizing while more integrated print and digital coupon promotion tactics are emerging,” stated Mark Nesbitt, president of Kantar Media Intelligence North America.

“For example, some [consumer packaged goods] brands are using their FSI events to drive shoppers to their brand websites or social media websites to download coupons,” Nesbitt added. “Additionally, some CPG manufacturers are distributing digital coupons on retailer websites to support their major corporate-scale-themed FSI coupon events.”

The number of coupons dropped through FSIs may be down, but the value of those coupons isn’t. During the first half of 2011, more than $236 billion in consumer incentives were delivered via FSI coupons in Sunday newspapers, up 0.8% from the same period in 2010. During the same six-month period, more than 149 billion coupons were distributed within more than 111 billion FSI pages. FSI coupon average face value achieved a new record level in the first half of 2011 at $1.58, up 4.9%, Kantar Media reported. 

However, retail promotion activity is on the rise, Kantar Media reported. The number of pages increased to 8.4 billion, representing a 27.3% increase. Walmart jumped from being ranked No. 13 based on pages circulated during the first half of 2010 to lead retailer promotion activity for the first half of 2011. Seven-of-the-top-10 retailers increased pages circulated during the first half of 2011 versus one year ago. Additionally, the number of manufacturers participating in retailer promotion events increased from 211 during the first half of 2010, to 293 during the first half of 2011. 

Retailers from mass (e.g., Walmart and Target); value (e.g., Dollar General and Family Dollar); drug (e.g., Walgreens and CVS Caremark); and specialty pet (e.g., Petsmart and Petco) comprised the top eight positions. Kroger and Publix were the leading food retailers and were ranked No. 9 and No. 10, respectively. 

“More manufacturers are partnering with their leading retailers on promotion events designed to reach shoppers in the home when they are developing purchase intent and planning shopping trips,” Nesbitt said. “Walmart may be using retailer promotion events to emphasize [its] renewed focus on product assortment and to attract a greater share of shoppers that use coupons to [its] stores.” 

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