CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- One area where consumers aren't cutting back: coupon usage. Coupons.com reported a 192% increase in the value of coupons printed from its site in March, compared with a year ago. The total value of the coupons was $57 million.
"Consumers printed a record amount of savings in March, almost tripling the amount printed last year," Coupons CEO Steven R. Boal said in a statement. "Consumers are using digital coupons to save on virtually everything they spend money on, from food to household essentials to entertainment items. We see no slowdown in sight."
Coupons have been the second-most-visited category on the internet -- behind jobs -- for about a year, said ComScore spokesman Andrew Lippsman. Coupon sites had 28 million unique visitors in February, up 41% from the year before, when they drew 20 million. Coupons.com had the biggest share of the category, with 6.6 million unique visitors, up 29% from 5 million the year before. Eversave.com came in second, with 5.5 million unique visitors in February.
In general, consumers seem to veer toward necessities at Coupons.com. Ready-to-eat cereal was the most popular category for coupon usage, followed by baby products and baking ingredients. Diet aids and yogurt rounded out the top five. Laundry supplies and personal care entered the top 10 in March, while salty and portable snacks fell off the list, after ranking in the top five in February.
Online coupon usage has grown dramatically in the past year and in direct opposition to the faltering economy. Mr. Boal said his business has been growing about 25% every month since the recession began. It's helped that major marketers have pulled spending from newspapers as local papers continue to fold. The company's clients include Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Foods, Clorox, Kroger, Safeway, CVS and Kmart.