Consumers Reach for Their Coupon Book

Study Shows Discounts for ‘Groceries’ and ‘Entertainment and Performances’ Rank High When the Going Gets Tough

STAMFORD, Conn., March 25, 2009 - When the nation’s economic woes hit home, coupons sent by mail are one way to overcome financial strains, says a recent study by Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI) and DM News. Not only are consumers looking for free money vouchers in their daily mail delivery, they’re most likely to use coupons on groceries, entertainment and performances. In general, consumers expect a 10 to 25 percent discount for coupons sent by mail, but this varies depending on which U.S. city they live in.

“In times such as these, coupons sent by mail are an effective way to relieve pressure on a household budget,” said Leslie Abi-Karam, executive vice president and president, mailing solutions management, Pitney Bowes Inc. “The research clearly shows that consumers have come to depend on the cost savings associated with coupons sent by mail.”

On the east coast, grocery coupons are wildly popular in Boston, where 95 percent of residents use coupons to put food on the table. Nearly half of Bostonians expect a 10 percent discount on groceries, but they have higher expectations for discretionary purchases like electronics or travel, where they anticipate a 25 percent discount.

Seventy percent of residents in culture-rich New York City are more likely to redeem a coupon for entertainment and performances while these subway- and cab-hoppers are the least likely to redeem one for auto parts and services. High expectations abound on discounts for entertainment and performances in the Big Apple, where one-quarter of consumers expect more than 25 percent off for a show ticket.

It’s not the same on the west coast, where most residents (43%) in L.A. expect only a 10 percent discount on entertainment and performances. When they do redeem coupons, most residents (49%) in the “City of Angels” are least likely to use them on travel and most likely (84%) to use them on groceries.

“The rising cost of food and utility prices in today’s economy is influencing spending. If marketers can pinpoint select groups of people with which to target financial promotional deals, and they get buy-in, it’s a win-win,” said Robin Coulter, department head and a professor of marketing at the University of Connecticut School of Business.

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • Miami (66%), New York (64%), and Denver (64%) residents are most likely to use coupons on health and wellness products; while residents in Houston (48%), Boston (52%) and Seattle (54%)—not so much.
  • Travel doesn’t top the list as something to use a coupon on in L.A. (49%), Seattle (52%) or Chicago (55%), but it does in New York (68%), Denver (65%), and Atlanta (61%).
  • Residents in Atlanta (64%), Denver (64%), Miami (64%) and Phoenix (63%) are most likely to clip their coupons for auto parts and services as opposed to residents in New York (42%), Boston (49%) and Seattle (48%).

About Pitney Bowes:

Pitney Bowes is a mailstream technology company that helps organizations manage the flow of information, mail, documents and packages. Our 35,000 employees deliver technology, service and innovation to more than two million customers worldwide. The company was founded in 1920 and annual revenues now total $6.3 billion. More information is available at