Study: Coupons drive impulse purchases, don't erode share of full-price shoppers

NEW YORK — Put a coupon in front of customers and they’ll likely act, but they generally won’t go far out of their way to ensure a better deal. That’s a key takeaway from a recent survey by, which offers deals and coupons from more than 5,000 retailers.

The recent study of 8,858 online consumers, who were surveyed immediately post-transaction from 1,356 online stores, revealed that 54% of those who used a coupon during purchase would not have made the purchase without the deal; in addition, 55% of these shoppers were inspired to shop because they received a coupon.

Furthermore, Tada’s Coupon Matter Quarterly Report suggests that couponing generally does not shift full-price buyers into discount shoppers. Of those who did not use a coupon for their purchase but claim to like using them, 76% admit that they did not bother to search for a coupon for their purchase. Meanwhile, 67% of those buyers claim that they would have spent more had they had a discount in hand.

While 38% of all shoppers polled claimed that they can be compelled to shop any category without a coupon, 33% of respondents insisted that they will only buy apparel and accessories when there’s a coordinating deal. Meanwhile, 22% of shoppers hold out on electronics, 15% of buyers wait for discounts on computers and software, and 13% won’t shell out on health and beauty without a deal. The two categories most coupon-proof: Gifts and flowers (7%) and musical instruments (4%).

What’s the preferred coupon source? Well, it’s not social media, which ranked at the bottom of the list. Instead, emails from their favorite stores and brands are by far the preferred way to access deals, according to the study. Flyers and coupons in the mail placed second (24% and 39%, respectively), followed by Googling for deals and coupon sites.

The study also found that, despite the ease of accessing deals through coupon-aggregating sites and searches, 19% of shoppers who didn’t use a coupon on their purchase claim that “they do not ever use coupons,” citing a lack of time as the number one reason (38%) why they don’t look. Meanwhile, 35% claim that the things they want to buy are never eligible for deals, while 14% cite frustration that coupon codes never work.


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