Americans Save Big Bucks Clicking Coupons

03.10.09 | FL News Team

American consumers have discovered a modern way to help make ends meet: coupon clicking. Internet tracker "ComScore" says online searches that involve words like "coupons" rose 161-percent in December compared to the same month in 2007 reaching nearly 20-million searches. Online hunts using the word "discount" hit nearly eight-million in the last month of 2008, a 26-percent increase from the year before.

"USA Today" says marketers are laying out big bucks to tie their brands to certain search terms so their "sponsored link" will appear first in a web search. Retailers then pay anywhere from four-cents to one-dollar each time someone clicks on their link or web page ad. For example last fall, Kraft used the search terms "cooking on a budget" and "value" which linked to a dollar-off coupon for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. A search for "Crest Whitening Strips" produces a link to a seven-dollar coupon. 

The Promotion Marketing Association says Americans are not just clicking for coupons; they are using them. Redemptions rose 15-percent in 2008 compared to the year before. Charles Brown, co-chair of PMA's coupon council says the Worldwide Web is the fastest-growing coupon distribution medium right now gaining 80-percent in 2008.

If there is a downside to this it is for newspapers that have traditionally provided money saving coupons by the dozens, especially in Sunday editions.