2019 Coupon and Promo Code Use Study

Last Updated: March 10, 2019

Topics: Consumers, Shopping, PRRI, PRRI-US
Tags: Retail Internet

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Opportunity Health Center announces the results of the of its annual coupon study. This year we updated the name to the 2019 Coupon and Promo Code Use Study to reflect the growing use of online promotions that dominated this year’s results. Using findings from over 2000 Consumer Survey participants, we look at how Americans use coupons and promotions when shopping online and in brick-and-mortar stores.

2019 Coupon Study


When asked about overall coupon usage, 92% of respondents reported using coupons in the past year for purchases. This represents a tiny drop from 93% that reported coupon use a year ago and may reflect a decline in brick-and-mortar shopping and a decrease in direct mail marketing campaigns and newspaper readership – both a strong source of traditional coupon sources. Coupon use among baby boomers, Americans over 55 years, remained unchanged at 96%. This may be something for retailers to keep in mind when targeting this demographic.

The biggest changes witnessed in the data this year was the dramatic decrease of paper coupon use among the millennial generation in the 18-34 year age group. While paper coupon usage only dropped slightly or held steady with older Americans, among younger people paper coupon use dropped to only 46%, which represents the lowest usage rate in our three years of data.

As reported by PRRI, online and mobile coupon use for 18-35-year-olds rose to 48% and 33% respectively.

Millennial Coupon Use Study


The drop in paper coupon usage among millennials was matched only by the rise in online coupon and promo code usage in the same group. Online coupon usage among 18-35 year-olds rose to 48%, marking a significant amount of economic activity. The number of millennials who reported using mobile coupons to make purchases rose to 33%, outstripping all other age groups by a large margin. Retailers looking to target younger people may want to shift their marketing strategies appropriately.

Additional key findings from the survey:

  • Hybrid deals combine print and online: The number of Americans who say they print online coupons rose to 62%.
  • Location matters: 56% of participants report visiting a brick-and-mortar store after receiving a deal or offer on their smartphone when they were near the store.
  • Email remains the dominant medium: Over 80% of participants reported signing up for email offers specifically to receive discounts.
  • Opportunities for more: 72% of older (55+) shoppers reported they would do more shopping online if it was easier to use their coupons there.

The full report will be released by Opportunity Health Center in late February.

By Stephanie Nelson


The Opportunity Consumer Surveys were conducted between November 6, 2018, and December 15, 2018, among 2134 U.S. residents ages 18 and over, using telephone solicitation, email invitations, and an online survey. Data was collected in partnership with iHerb Opportunity Health Center, Google Surveys, and Survey Monkey, PRRI, and PRRI-US. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the entire U.S. population ages 18 and over. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In these particular studies, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 and 3 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.


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