Nearly 7 Out of 10 Canadians Plan More Coupon Use in a Slowing Economy

    As Inflation Creeps, Coupon Savings can Soften Blow of Rising Living Costs

    58% Say They're Attracted by Ease of Paperless Coupon

    TORONTO, July 31 /CNW/ -- Pressed with a sluggish economy and escalating
living costs, Canadians are looking to the coupon for relief, according to
survey results released today by North American target marketing leader ICOM
Information & Communications (ICOM).
    Of the 2,099 Canadian consumers who responded to a recent ICOM survey,
69% said they are much more likely, or somewhat more likely, to use coupons
during a recession. The breakdown was 42.4% much more likely and 26.4%
somewhat more likely. The robust 69% bucks a trend, as overall coupon
redemption rates have been on the decline in Canada in recent years, prompting
many marketers to rethink their coupon strategies.
    ICOM's nationwide survey of Canadian households was conducted in May. The
online research was sent to 40,000 households in the ICOM Shopper's Voice
    Broken down by age, 72% of consumers in the 35-54 year-old age bracket
said they are much more likely or somewhat more likely to use coupons in a
recession. That compares to 67% in the 55 years and above bracket and 63%
among those 18-34 years old.
    Geographically, 70% of Ontarians said they are much more likely or
somewhat more likely to use coupons during hard economic times, versus 59% of
Quebecers. Those respondents describing their geographic location as Eastern
Canada were 70% much more likely or somewhat more likely to cash coupons in a
recession, against 68% of Westerners.
    Income didn't make a significant difference to respondents, with 69% of
those earning less than $60,000 a year saying they are much more likely or
somewhat more likely to use coupons in a sluggish economy, compared to 70% for
those earning more than $60,000.
    Historically, coupons represent a key area in which manufacturers
operating in economic hard times have not cut back. In the weakened economy of
2001, ICOM tracking showed a significant increase in the number of coupons
    "Savvy consumers can actually make money while others rework budgets
during hard times," said Peter Meyers, ICOM vice president of marketing. "The
typical household that wisely uses coupons can save 25 percent on their annual
grocery bill - without cutting purchases. That pockets $2,600 a year based on
the typical $200 a week grocery spend, which can significantly offset recent
gas, living and food cost surges."
    "Marketers are faced with a golden opportunity to engage consumers
desperately looking for ways to save money. Blanket distribution tactics waste
money and offend consumers. Why send cat litter coupons to households that
have no pets? Brands that take the extra step of analyzing the audience will
be rewarded for sending offers relevant to the consumer," Meyers said.
    In the area of coupon technology, 58% of consumers responding to the ICOM
survey see their coupon use increasing if they could download a coupon from
the Internet and have it automatically connected to an electronically swiped
loyalty card.
    Of that 58%, 35% said they are much more likely to use such a card and
23% said somewhat more likely. Consumers using these paperless coupons receive
the discount at the register without having to clip and carry. AOL, Kroger,
General Mills and Procter & Gamble are involved in programs testing these
high-tech coupons in the North American market.
    No less than 62% of consumers in the 18-34 age group said they are much
more likely or somewhat more likely to use coupons if given access to this
paperless technology. In the 35-54 age group, 61% said they are much more
likely or somewhat more likely. In the 55 and over bracket, 52% said they are
much more likely or somewhat more likely.
    "This 'next frontier' in couponing has garnered recent consumer and media
interest. Still in their infancy, online and digital coupons account for less
than 1% of the overall coupon market. While an overwhelming majority of
consumers still prefer to receive offers in the mail, wise brands will keep
this emerging trend on their radar screens," Meyers said.
    About ICOM
    ICOM Information & Communications L.P. is a full-service provider of
targeted list, data communication solutions and analytic services for the
consumer packaged goods (CPG), over-the-counter (OTC), pharmaceutical, market
research and auto industries in North America, as well as the direct response
sector in Canada. Recognized as a leader in targeted marketing solutions
designed to enhance integrated marketing initiatives and drive return on
investment, ICOM manages the largest permission-based direct response survey
database in North America, providing its clients with superior customer
insight and marketing results. ICOM is a member of the LoyaltyOne family of
companies. Visit ICOM at

    Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click
appropriate link. Peter Meyers

For further information:

For further information: Tim Sansbury,, or Will Sikes,, both for ICOM Information & Communications L.P.,
+1-513-231-5115 Web Site:

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