Coupon marketing: facts and usage statistics

Did you know that the very first paper coupon was released by Coca-Cola in 1888? That’s how it looked like:

19th century Coca-Cola coupon.jpg
19th century Coca-Cola coupon” by Coca-Cola – Scanned by uploader from Wired (Nov 2010), Vol. 18, No. 11, p. 104.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

By 1913, the company had redeemed 8.5 million tickets. The coupon marketing era has started. Where are we now? In this article I’m going to collect those coupon industry statistics and trends that can be of use for e-commerce specialists.

Coupons should be delivered to customers. And the best way to do so is to send an e-mail. But what if your email ends up in their spam? This Magento SMTP extension can help.

Well, it’ve been 127 years. It’ve been a lot: coupon hysteria during the great depression, a big switch from local markets to big stores in the USA after the war, when coupons also played a significant role, and finally the invention of the Internet which brought printable and digital coupons. What shop owners should know about coupon usage in 2015?
Produce stall at Pike Place Market, 1939

1. Emails with coupons have more opens, clicks and transactions

Experian’s 2013 Q4 Email Benchmark report shows that emails with coupons have

  • a 14% higher open rate;
  • a 34% jump in unique clicks;
  • a 27% increase in transaction rates;
  • 48% boost in revenue per email, compared to other types of promotional emails.

Coupon marketing: how coupons influence emails

If you struggle to rise clicks and open rates for your email campaigns, try sending coupons and inform the recipients about the discount in the title of the letter.

Note: make sure you follow the guidelines of email providers; don’t use spammy words. Check these examples:
Cyber Monday 50% Lifetime Savings with Ahrefs
Save up to 20% + FREE SHIPPING!
Choose Which Charity Gets $20 from Arc’teryx and Moosejaw

2. 70% want coupons emailed to them for products they normally buy

According to Inmar, people actually:

  • want you to send them digital coupons;
  • want coupons for products they usually buy.

Give your customers what they want! It doesn’t mean that you have to send coupons for each purchase, but consider sending personalized discounts on special occasions.

3. Shoppers use, on average, 5.8 methods to discover/acquire coupons

According to the 2014 Inmar Shopper Behavior Study, shoppers overall are regularly using, on average, 5.8 methods to discover and acquire coupons, combining both traditional and digital methods.

Here’s a digital coupons fact from VoucherCloud infographic:

Coupon marketing: how are consumers finding coupon deals

Taking into account this coupon usage fact, make sure you distribute coupons through several channels, which increases the chance they will be found by shoppers.

Here’s a list to start with:

  • email your coupons to your list;
  • blog about it;
  • share it on your social media accounts; encourage to follow your so shoppers won’t miss the next deal;
  • post it to coupons directory/distribution website;
  • post it to social media groups devoted to coupons, including Google Plus communities, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, Pinterest group boards and more;
  • place a banner on your Magento website and blog (as well as Magento 2 blog).

4. Projected number of U.S. smartphone mobile coupon users by 2015 is 74.1m


The mobile coupon is an electronic version of a paper coupon that can be searched for and then delivered to consumers on their mobile devices.
According to Statista, 74.1m people will use smartphone mobile coupons by 2015 – and these are the stats for the USA only. What is more, the chart shows steady and significant increase in the number of mobile coupon users, which means the market is growing rapidly:

Coupon marketing: smartphone mobile coupon usage


Don’t cross out mobile coupons – it looks like digital coupons aren’t going to replace them at all! Have a look at the distribution list above to share your mobile coupons or ways of getting them, plus think about placing offline ads in your stores or, if you don’t have any, in places where your target audience is likely to hang around.

5. Coupons beat sales when it comes to influencing decision making

Pepsodent Ad

a 1922 Pepsodent coupon

When it comes to the types of digital promotions most likely to influence purchase decisions, coupons beat out sales and daily deal vouchers by a wide margin, according to a survey of 500 US consumers who used a digital coupon, offer, or online promotion code in the prior 3 months. The study was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of RetailMeNot.

This coupon fact can be of great use when it comes to highly competitive niche. In other words, if you and your competitor offer the same product under the same conditions, a shopper is likely to buy from a retailer that offers a coupon. This is a powerful instrument when you are going neck and neck with you competitor – coupons may be a cornerstone of turning the lights to your stage.

6. Consumers feel getting a better price than others makes them feel like winners

60% of consumers feel that shopping is competitive and getting a better price than others makes them feel like winners, according to Yahoo.

Did you know that only 2 of 712 buyers enjoy e-shopping? (To know more stats on customer behavior, read our blog post). Looks like e-commerce gamification is something you could use to bring more positive associations! Make your customers compete or participate in quizzes and games to win a coupon.

Check our guide on e-commerce gamification to know how you can use winner psychology

If you run a Magento store, feel free to check Special Occasion Coupons Amasty extension:

Special Occasion Coupons

Build strong relationships with customers – motivate them with birthday, subscription coupons and other deals. Convert one-time buyers into loyal customers.

  • Significantly increase customer loyalty
  • Send coupons to clients on birthday, signup, other events
  • Automatically send coupons to customers
  • Set send date, discount, expiry, etc. for each coupon type
  • Ability to automatically remove old coupons


Which coupon marketing tactics work for you? Please share your thoughts in comments.