Inmar: Coupon Redemption Fell 22.9 Percent in Third Quarter of 2012

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Company foresees continuing shifts in both coupon redemption and distribution.

Inmar, a technology company that operates intelligent commerce networks, today announced that coupon redemption declined by almost 23 percent in the third quarter of 2012 – compared with the same period last year. According to Inmar, the decline was precipitated by a combination of fewer and less attractive offers being made available, a generally more optimistic economic outlook among shoppers and continued volatility in the marketplace.

This fall in redemption ran counter to a 7.6 percent increase in distribution for the same period. However, the apparent disparity is attributed by Inmar to distribution, in many cases, shifting away from some methods with high redemption rates (like on-packs) to methods with lower redemption rates. Still, this third-quarter increase -- coming on the heels of a six-month pullback in distribution -- is forecast by Inmar to likely lift coupon redemption in the fourth quarter.

With the decline in the number of coupons came a decline the offer quality:

  • Face values were down more than nine percent in the second quarter and virtually flat (+0.7 percent) in the third quarter.
  • Consumers were required to buy more product (+3 percent Q2, +9 percent Q3) to get the coupon savings.
  • Redemption periods continued to shrink to less than two months in the third quarter (-13 percent Q2, -21 percent Q3).

Improved economic conditions, according to Inmar, are helping drive the decline. As consumers grow more optimistic about the future there tends to be a reduced gravitation toward promotions. Inmar has found, through its research, that the unemployment rate is predictive of coupon redemption. With recent reports putting unemployment at some of the lowest levels in the last couple of years, a drop in redemption is not seen by the company as a surprise. The size of the drop, however, is viewed as unusual.

What this shift does not suggest, says David Mounts, Inmar CEO, is any kind of long-term move away from promotion use by shoppers.

“We don’t think for a minute that consumers are any less interested in coupons or deals,” says Mounts. “While shoppers are in a better mood lately, less value was available to them last quarter and the realities are still pretty stark: underemployment remains comparatively high and the USDA predicts rising ‘food at home’ prices. That means coupons will continue to be a ‘go-to resource’ in the long term,” adds Mounts.

Mounts’ perspective is supported by data from the 2012 Nielsen Homescan Survey of consumers in which 41 percent of respondents reported using coupons on most shopping trips, an increase of four points over 2009 -- the heart of the Great Recession.

Inmar anticipates 2012 ending with a net decline in coupon redemption, but sees likely improvement in fourth quarter redemption due to the increase in coupons available.

Inmar has been a leader in the promotions industry for more than 30 years and currently processes more than 2.3 billion coupons annually. Providing promotions management, coupons processing and business intelligence for many of the nation’s leading retailers and manufacturers, Inmar closely monitors coupon distribution and redemption across the country and regularly reports on trends and activity in this sector.

For an audio summary of the Inmar presentation on third quarter coupon trends, click here.

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Inmar is a technology company that operates intelligent commerce networks. More than 1700 retail, healthcare, and manufacturing clients choose Inmar’s networks to simplify and securely manage their complex transactions with trading partners so they can focus on their core business. Founded in 1980, Inmar is headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with more than 4,200 employees in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

For more information about Inmar’s products and services, please contact 866-440-6917 or visit

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Sharon Joyner-Payne
Inmar, Inc.
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