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Lifestyle

December 13, 2012

Readers Rant: Are coupon values going down?

(Continued)

While these are drops in value, they’re minor ones. But here’s another change that you may have noticed: According to the report, 37 percent of grocery coupons require the shopper to purchase multiple items. Manufacturers still want us to buy their products, but they want us to buy two or more at a time.

They want us to use our coupons a little sooner, too. The report notes that expiration dates have gotten a bit shorter. The average grocery coupon has an expiration date of 10.2 weeks, down from 10.4 last year. ItÕs not a big change, but itÕs worth noting.

So what does this mean for coupon shoppers? Judging from the email I receive, many people are upset about lower values and the requirement of multiple purchases on many coupons.

Two readers weigh in:

Dear Jill,

I won’t use a coupon if it’s for more than one item. If I’m trying something new and I don’t like it, I don’t want to get stuck with two or three. Just won’t use them!

Lara M.

Dear Jill,

If the coupon offer is not high enough, I just buy a store brand. The coupon needs to be worth enough to me to buy the name brand. If the value is too low, that coupon isn’t worth my time.

Priya A.

NCHÕs report data seems to support these readers’ views. It states that coupon redemption is down this year, breaking a three-year growth trend in which coupon use rose every year. The report concludes with this eye-opening statement: “The suppressing effect of offer attractiveness has significantly reduced the total number of coupons redeemed so far in 2012.”

If redemption continues to drop, perhaps marketers will seek to increase the attractiveness of their coupon offers. The alternative is losing business to store-brand items, especially when many stores are offering coupons for their private-label brands, too. We’ll delve into name-brand products versus store-brand products next week.

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Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.

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