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Digital Coupon Redemption Surpasses Print for 1st Time: Report

Gen Xers, baby boomers top users, according to Inmar’s 2021 Shopper Behavior Study
Digital grocery coupon
Photograph: Shutterstock

In a year when more consumers bought groceries online as a safer alternative to shopping in-store amid a pandemic, redemption of digital load-to-card coupons overtook paper free-standing inserts for the first time, according to findings from data-driven technology-enabled services company Inmar Intelligence’s 2021 Shopper Behavior Study.

Digital coupons accounted for 29.3% of all redemption volume in 2020, for a 27% year-over-year increase by share of volume.

Among generations, Gen Xers and baby boomers were the top users, with digital coupon usage among Gen X growing from 65% in 2020 to 69% in 2021, and usage among boomers increasing from 49% in 2020 to 58% in 2021, the study found.

Fifty percent of boomers and 63% of Gen Xers agreed or strongly agreed that they use digital coupons because it is easier than using paper coupons. Additionally, 59% of boomers and 54% of Gen Xers look for digital coupons before going to the store for an in-store grocery shopping trip—the highest of the generations.

“Digital is now a channel preferred across generations and with many of today’s consumers doing their shopping online, digital coupons provide the most convenience and personalization,” said Spencer Baird, EVP and president of MarTech for Inmar Intelligence, in a release. "As consumers still face economic uncertainty during [the COVID-19 pandemic], it’s especially important for brands and retailers to provide more value and savings at the register. It is up to retailers to provide a wide range of digitally available value—and those that do will come out on top.”

With regard to personalization, 94% of Gen Xers and 86% of boomers said personalized coupons and promotions were significant factors when joining a loyalty program.

• See “Personalization Comes of Age,” in which WGB explores how new customers and digital growth has lit the fuse for personalization.

In general, 69% of shoppers reported that using a coupon changed their purchase decision in some way in fourth-quarter 2020. “Growth in digital coupon redemption has been upward trending now for the past couple of years—which has no doubt been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Baird said


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