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Coupon comeback

Mailed discounts popular with consumers

Woman looks into mailbox
Forty-four percent of respondents in a recent survey say they prefer to receive coupons in the mail over newspapers, the internet and smartphones.

Shelia Womble checks her mailbox every day for coupons.

“It’s one of the easiest ways to save money,” said Womble, a Charlotte, NC, resident who recently used coupons she received in the mail to save $2,000 on a new car.

“I use coupons to buy cleaning supplies, housewares, all sorts of things,” she said.

Womble is one of countless consumers who are helping to fuel a coupon comeback, courtesy of the U.S. Mail.

In a recent survey by marketing giant Valassis, 44 percent of respondents said they prefer to receive coupons in the mail over newspapers, the internet and smartphones — up from 40 percent a year ago.

“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, Valassis’s chief marketing officer.

Pays to advertise

The findings support a Data and Marketing Association analysis that determined response rates to coupons rose 60 percent during the past decade.

Additional research by USPS shows that while mail volumes declined overall last year, advertising mail remained a popular method to reach the nation’s consumers.

The percentage of Marketing Mail that contains coupons has averaged 24 percent during the past eight years, while total advertising mail that contains coupons has slipped in recent years.

However, during the three-month period that ended June 30, advertising mail containing coupons increased 7 percent compared to the same period one year earlier.

“The most recent data show some growth,” said USPS Financial Economist John Mazzone.

Grabbing attention

To keep the momentum going, USPS works with customers to create effective mailings. One example: the South Dakota Department of Tourism, which recently won an Irresistible Mail Award for a mailing that included coupons.

Business customers are also improving coupon designs — including making them larger and printing them on glossier paper — to grab consumers’ attention.

“Hopefully, people put [our coupons] on the refrigerator. Other people see it when they come over, so you can get even more eyeballs,” Lindsey Andrews, co-chief executive officer of Minibar Delivery, a beverage service, told NPR’s “Marketplace” recently.

Consumers are just happy to get a good deal.

“I’ve gotten family and friends to start using coupons now,” said Womble. “With the right coupon, you can save quite a bit of money.”

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