Survey: More shoppers turning to Internet for coupon-driven deals

AUSTIN, Texas — RetailMeNot.com, an online coupon aggregator, found that online coupon usage was up 23% on its site in the months leading up to the holiday shopping season, the company announced Wednesday.

The company's recently released "Shoppers Trend Report," a consumer survey conducted by Ipsos, identifies retail purchase patterns and consumer trends leading up to the holiday shopping season. According to the report, merchant sales driven by coupon usage on RetailMeNot.com were up by 82% year over year in the three months prior to the November launch of the 2011 holiday shopping season. More than half of consumers surveyed (51%) said that they intended to spend about the same this holiday season as they did last year; with only 11% saying they intended to spend more.

Adults ages 35 years and older are more likely than younger adults to be trimming their holiday budgets this shopping season (41% vs. 30%), and parents are more likely to be spending more on holiday shopping this year than are adults without a child under 18 (15% vs. 10%).

"With the significant uptick in merchants sales driven by RetailMeNot.com, it is clear that consumers are stretching their dollar by utilizing coupons and promotional codes to get more for their money while shopping online this holiday season," stated Josh Harding, director of business intelligence for WhaleShark Media, the operator of RetailMeNot.com. "In an environment where the economy continues to create uncertainty, both merchants and consumers are looking for coupon promotions, like free shipping, to drive demand and increase the value of each purchase.”

According to the Ipsos survey, clothing and accessories will likely continue as the most likely items to be on one’s gift list (54%). Other popular items include books, movies and music (44%); consumer electronics, such as TVs, e-readers and video games (37%); toys (34%); and bath and beauty products/treatments (26%).

Women are more likely than men to have clothing and accessories (61% vs. 47%); books, movies and music (49% vs. 39%); toys (41% vs. 26%); and bath and beauty items (35% vs. 16%) on their holiday shopping lists, while men are more likely to buy consumer electronics (45% vs. 30%). Adults younger than 55 years also are more likely than older adults to be interested in buying consumer electronics this holiday season (42% vs. 29%).

Data on merchant sales, coupon usage and other trend activity was pulled from consumer activity on RetailMeNot.com and its affiliated sites, which experience more than 300 million site visits annually, the company reported.

The Ipsos poll was conducted Nov. 7 to 8. For the survey, a national sample of 1,007 adults ages 18 years and older from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online.

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