What future for US coupon apps?

  • 06 Feb
  • 2 min

These days you can obtain money-off deals on various kinds of purchases without trying very hard. So why hasn’t this practice caught on more widely?

Between 81% and 96% of all consumers in the United States – depending on which source you go to – make use of coupons to obtain money-off deals.  You can also use a digital service provided by one of a number of startups to the same effect… except that then you don’t have to lift a finger to get the coupon and you might not even know you have received it!  One of the best-known mobile cash-back apps is Dosh, which can be linked with your bank card and will then automatically reimburse you a percentage on each purchase made at a partnering trader. So "where’s the catch?" you might say. Well, Dosh is not about to sell or share your personal data, if we can believe the company’s clarification. Meanwhile Canadian startup Drop is targeting millennials, offering to reimburse a certain amount whenever they spend their dough at Amazon or Starbucks, among other outlets much beloved of the younger generation. In the same vein but taking things a step further is Honey, an app which will make an automatic search for promotion codes to enable the user to take advantage of price reductions when shopping online.

So why aren’t these practices more widespread? Maybe because, contrary to what one might suppose, those noted tech-fans the millennials actually do more of their shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores than online. According to a recent survey conducted by Earnest, 90% of Gen Yers’ food consumption is based on them going in person to a grocery store or a restaurant – which would explain why they still use paper coupons: fully 90% of all millennials polled say they use the coupons they receive through the post. In fact it appears that they are happy to grab the opportunities that present themselves, rather than having any real preference for one method over another. If this theory turns out to be true, then cash-back apps and money-off coupons have a bright future in front of them.

By Sophia Qadiri