2010 saw a huge increase in coupon use. According to TIME It’s Your Money, 332 billion coupons were redeemed in 2010 for a total value of $3.7 billion - an increase of 21 billion from 2009. BradsDeals numbers support the national trend. We saw our traffic grow over 60% in 2010 vs. 2009 and that is on a large sample (several million visits each month).
While some data suggests that the South represents the most frugal consumers and largest group of coupon users, we are seeing frugality spread a little more evenly across the country. If you look at pure visits per state, the numbers don’t reveal a lot. The states with the largest population have the most visits. Nothing shocking there.
However, if you look at site visits as a percentage of the population, a different story unfolds. California, Texas and Florida – three of the four most populous states fall from the top of the list to the bottom. Illinois jumps to number one with visits representing 14% of the population followed by New York at 12%. (Note: Brad's Deals is based in Chicago.)
The cities tell another story. While half of our top cities do fall under the top ten of the most populated cities, our top five do not. Following the trends, Altanta was number one with 48% of its population visiting BradsDeals followed by St. Louis at 38% and Minneapolis at 37%.
What does this mean? Why are these cities and states using more coupons? Does population directly reflect coupon use?
According to CNBC, half of these states have the highest unemployment rates in the United States with New York being the highest with 14.3% followed by Michigan and California at 12.4%, Florida at 12% and Georgia at 10.1%. The economy has a huge affect on people spending money. This is not surprising. I built BradsDeals during a period of "conspicuous consumption." Frugality was a choice for a small niche. Now it is a requirement, as it should be!
Coupon use is only going to increase in 2011 and beyond. As we saw in 2010 consumers are spending smarter. Wallet Pop recently reported that it’s not just those struggling financially that clip coupons, but also individuals making more than $100,000 a year. I see a lot of nice cars when I'm at Costco. People like finding deals – they aren’t hesitating to spend money, but they enjoy determining the value of the deals and taking advantage.
Bottom-line: I expect online coupon use to grow even faster. I'm predicting annual growth of 20%-25% for at least the next 5 years. Yes, that means online coupon redemption will roughly triple by 2015.