The recession has inspired a thriftiness in consumers that some believe will outlast the economic downturn. Bargain-hunting Internet users have turned to price comparison hubs and coupon sites in increasing numbers, but according to data from Adweek and Harris Poll, Americans think the best places to look for deals are still offline.
Overall, nearly one-quarter of US adults reported that newspaper and magazine ads were the most helpful types of advertising when they were searching for a bargain, compared with 18% who indicated online ads were best.
Among younger respondents, however, the trend was reversed. Adults ages 18 to 44 preferred online ads for bargain hunting by a margin of at least 5 percentage points. The oldest respondents were the most likely to favor print, though they still thought Web ads were better for deal-seeking than direct mail or TV.
Education level also played a role in consumer perceptions of ads. College graduates were more than twice as likely as those with a high school education or less to say online ads were best for finding deals.
Despite a small overall preference for traditional ads, younger, better-educated consumers would use online advertising to look for a good buy—important for marketers trying to target this attractive segment.
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