Report: FSI coupon activity increased 8% in 2009

MINNEAPOLIS Free-standing insert coupon activity increased 8% during 2009 to more than 272 billion coupons dropped versus the previous year, according to Marx Promotion Intelligence, a division of TNS Media Intelligence.

FSI coupons are a vehicle for coupon redemption and product exposure.

This activity level is the highest yearly coupons dropped observed during the past decade, surpassing the second highest annual coupons dropped of 257 billion achieved in 2007.Marx Promotion Intelligence also reported that retailer promotion pages achieved new record levels with a 37.7% increase to more than 9 billion pages in 2009, continuing the pattern of significant annual growth rates which began in 2007.

“As consumers adapt to new economic realities, marketers are increasing their use of FSI coupons within their marketing mix to deliver advertising impact, influence consumer behavior, and secure retailer distribution and merchandising,” said Mark Nesbitt, TNS Media Intelligence president. “Leading retailers are also increasing their use of FSI vehicles to drive planned shopping trips and build shopper loyalty. Manufacturers and retailers are working together to deliver relevant incentives to their consumers and shoppers during increasingly difficult economic times. Although ‘shopper marketing’ tactics are still evolving, FSIs have clearly emerged as a key component of manufacturer and retailer aligned promotion programs.”

FSI coupon support was included as part of 388 new product introductions during this period, up from 334 during 2008.

“After a decline in new product activity in 2008, manufacturers again appear to be investing in innovation to grow their brands,” said Nesbitt.

Corporate “scale” events continued to grow as a promotion tactic in 2009. Scale events included both manufacturer solo inserts in which the entire vehicle is comprised of events from a single manufacturer and multiple-page corporate themed events that are distributed within cooperative FSI coupon vehicles. Corporate scale events contributed in part to the “pre-Easter” promotion week of April 5 having the greatest activity with a weighted average circulation of 144 pages.  The “New Year” promotion week of Jan. 4 (traditionally the heaviest weighted week of the year) was the second most active week in 2009 with 136 pages of FSI promotions.

“Manufacturers are using corporate scale FSI coupon events as an effective advertising vehicle to leverage their brand portfolios to break through the promotion clutter and engage their consumers while also creating a more robust merchandising opportunity for their retailer partners,” added Nesbitt.

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