WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Americans still like paper coupons best

Posted November 10, 2015

Red Plum coupons insert

Despite all of the technology available to consumers today, Americans still prefer paper coupons, according to a new report.

Here are the findings:

-- 63% of U.S. credit/debit cardholders who use coupons say they most frequently present coupons from newspapers, mailings and other paper products.

-- Entering a discount code online is a distant second (17%), followed by presenting a coupon or discount code on one’s phone (15%).

-- 85% of Americans use coupons (24% often, 29% sometimes and 32% occasionally).

-- Paper coupon usage decreases with income and increases with age, but even 18-24 year-olds are using paper coupons about twice as much as any other method.

“Dead trees aren’t dead when it comes to coupons,” said Matt Schulz,’s senior industry analyst. “Plenty of Americans are still opening their snail mail and reading the Sunday paper. I expect paper coupons to lose some market share, though, as consumers and brands get even more comfortable using them electronically.”

In fact, 42% of credit/debit cardholders would prefer to have discounts automatically applied to their payment cards, the survey found. 29% aren’t sure and only 27% are opposed. American Express, Discover and Bank of America are among those offering these so-called card-linked offers.

“With the holiday travel and shopping seasons upon us, consumers shouldn’t ignore these opportunities to save money and earn more rewards,” Schulz added. “These can be great benefits people don’t even know they have.” commissioned GfK Custom Research North America to survey 1,000 American adults regarding their coupon habits. My thanks to and for the information.

What do you think? Do you prefer paper coupons to digital coupons?


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  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Nov 10, 2015

    observant - that's classic!

    I agree with all of you - I use them all and have no preference for one over the other. The key is which one saves me the most for a specific item.

  • observant Nov 10, 2015

    All forms do have their advantages and disadvantages .
    I find some store associates are a little annoyed when I want to use mobile coupons or coupon codes (on my tablet or smartphone) - Best Buy is Horrible about it and I bought the tablet there !!

  • ThomasG Nov 10, 2015

    I use all forms and many rewards programs - digital coupons are convenient because anyone in the family that has that store loyalty card can shop and get the discount .
    I am fairly new to the smartphone craze but I have noticed the mobile apps do offer more and different discounts depending on the stores.
    My best deals are combining all -coupons. mobile offers/coupons, rewards ,price matching, sales and digital coupons .

  • Dr D Nov 10, 2015

    All good: paper, printable or electronic. It's hard to not like the load-to-card freebies such as the Oreos from HT, Kroger, and now FL. Thanks for posting about the FL Oreos, PEPPER2. :-)