Redeeming Value

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Last year, U.S. businesses distributed 330 billion coupons with an average face value of 71 cents, up from 307 billion coupons with an average face value of 66 cents in 1999. So why did consumer savings remain constant at $3.6 billion? Despite efforts on the business end, consumers just didn't bite. According to the Promotion Marketing Association, consumers actually redeemed 200 million fewer coupons in 2000 (4.5 billion) than they did in 1999 (4.7 billion). Coupon use is lowest among young adults who will account for a larger share of the population as Generation Y ages. Some 70 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds use coupons, compared with 77 percent of all adults. Men are also significantly less likely to trade in coupons for cash. Sixty-nine percent of men use coupons, compared with 85 percent of women. Maybe men just can't find the scissors.


Coupon distribution ranking by product category.

2000 1999
Household cleaners 1 1
Condiments, gravies 2 NR*
Frozen prepared foods 3 7
Medications 4 4
Paper products 5 9
Detergents 6 6
Prepared foods 7 5
Cereal 8 2
Personal soaps, bath items 9 8
Wrapping materials 10 11
*Not ranked in 1999 Source: Promotion Marketing Association
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