Despite the brightened economic outlook – as the U.S. unemployment rate hits a 16-year low – American consumers remain budget-conscious. Recent Valassis research indicates a continued desire to save, with 90 percent of U.S. shoppers reporting they use coupons, obtaining them from a variety of online and offline sources.
Among value-seeking consumers, more than half look to save on basic necessities, such as food and gas. An overwhelming 94 percent say they are interested in finding coupons and deals for groceries. Research from McKinsey also indicates that American consumers are reducing their spend, with 49 percent agreeing they are “increasingly looking for ways to save money.”
“As American consumers take control of their shopping experience, they continue to seek value. Saving has become a ritual part of their buying behavior,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer, Valassis. “Research from Valassis underscores the need for brands to be consumer-centric, providing both print and digital promotions and offers to targeted audiences for the products shoppers are most interested in.”
“We are seeing retailers get creative with new forms of promotions to capture deal-minded consumers,” said Marissa Tarleton, chief marketing officer, RetailMeNot, a Valassis sister company. “Not only are value-seeking customers interested in deals, but RetailMeNot survey data shows a variety of audiences interested in new types of savings such as e-gift cards and cash back offers to round out their shopping journey.”
With these consumer behaviors and preferences in mind, U.S. marketers should consider the following:
- Print and digital are complementary – While consumers are becoming increasingly connected to digital media, print and digital together work powerfully well. A print offer can often drive a consumer to take action, such as visiting a store or downloading a mobile app for future savings. According to the Valassis Coupon Intelligence Report, mail ranks as the most preferred way to obtain coupons with 44 percent preferring this channel. This consumer research also found that mobile recorded the greatest increase with 32 percent preferring this method versus 24 percent in 2016.
- Influence the decision – Test and learn through creative promotions aimed at engaging consumers, driving traffic and influencing the purchase. About one-third of consumers are willing to shop at a new store if a cash back offer is presented, and the ability to stack savings by combining a coupon with a cash back offer would encourage a purchase for nearly half of consumers, according to RetailMeNot survey data.
- Shoppers want self-service – Customers seek ease and savings. In the Brick Meets Click Supermarket Guide to Online Grocery Competition, satisfaction to add coupons via online grocery sites is the lowest-rated area, creating vulnerabilities in consumers’ online experience. Remove barriers to entry and friction from the buying journey. Put consumers first, enhancing their shopping experience and putting them in control.
- Not all savers are created equal – While it is important to understand various audience segments, recognize that every shopper has his or her own preferences and habits. Collect and analyze consumer data and use it to your advantage for personalized engagement. Scale is important too, of course – and balancing extensive reach with precise targeting will yield the best result. Valassis Apio™ is a proprietary methodology integrating offline and online, mobile-first data to help marketers identify their best consumers and reach them throughout their day.