Nielsen: Affluent Consumers more likely to be Heavy Coupon users.

More U.S. consumers are using coupons when purchasing consumer packaged goods (CPG) items with 1.6 billion coupons redeemed in the first half of 2009, up 23 percent from last year1. But which consumers are using coupons? According to new research from The Nielsen Company:

* More affluent consumers ($70k+) are considered super heavy coupon2 users (39 percent compared to 35 percent for total U.S. households) and coupon enthusiasts (42 percent compared to 35 percent for total U.S. households.)

* Other serious coupon users include those from large households, those households with female heads age 54 and younger, as well as consumers living in affluent suburban3 and comfortable country4 spreads.

* Those likely to be low or non-coupon users: low-income, 1-member households, male-only head of households, African-Americans and Hispanic consumers, residents in rural and struggling urban areas.

* The largest groups of coupon users are the super low and low users5, accounting for 31 percent of households. Just under one-third (32 percent) of all U.S. households didn’t use any coupons during the first half of 2009.

* The recession drove heavier coupon usage as lighter coupon users in 2008 became heavier users in 2009.

* Consumers show stronger coupon use in edible departments and this is particularly true among the coupon enthusiasts, with 85 percent of their coupon unit purchases in edible departments (compared to 80 percent for total coupon users) and 15 percent of coupon unit purchases in non-food and health and beauty (vs. 20 percent for total coupon users).

“With more consumers looking for value and savings and CPG retailers and manufacturers collaborating to enable easier coupon access, coupons are back in vogue,” said Todd Hale, senior vice president, Consumer & Shopper Insights, The Nielsen Company. “It’s important for manufacturers and retailers to understand who is using coupons and how frequently. For example, while some might think that the fervent coupon clippers are only interested in a good deal, our research shows that this was the only group to show an increase in overall purchases, with or without a coupon, suggesting real benefits to companies deploying coupons in their marketing mix.”

1 Inmar

2 Super heavy coupon users purchased 51 to 103 items on coupon on a semi-annual basis. Coupon enthusiasts purchased more than 104 items on coupons semi-annually, as captured via Nielsen Homescan Panel.

3 As defined by Nielsen, affluent suburban spreads include consumers living in a suburban ring of metropolitan areas, annual household income over $94k and 80 percent of residents are non-Hispanic white.

4 As defined by Nielsen, comfortable country areas include middle class metropolitan fringes and secondary cities, single family homes, mix of white and blue collar jobs.

5 Super low coupon users purchased 1 to 3 items on coupon on a semi-annual basis. Low coupon users purchased 4 to 14 items semi-annually, as captured via Nielsen Homescan Panel.

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