Coupons, mobile apps and social networks are all tools at the disposal of the connected consumer. Shoppers have developed tactics to use them in the most efficient way, to the point where some call it a "deal" or a "coupon culture."

2012 has seen the rise of a "deal culture" among connected shoppers


Consumers look for savings online because it is easier and faster, and a “Deal Culture” is flourishing. More people are using circulars and coupons, and this may be due to the economic effects on their financial confidence for the past few years. The 2012 RedPlum Purse String study, conducted by Valassis, showed increased usage this year of savings tactics as shoppers save up to $50 a week. About 4 out of 5 consumers are using the following more often this year: circulars to plan how they shop, print coupons, mobile coupons and online coupons. This frugal mindset is encouraging tech adoption while saving time.

Mobility increases efficiency

The rise in both digital and traditional savings is working for consumers - most study respondents (61 percent) save up to $30 per week. They are using their smartphones as well, not only to access emailed coupons (21 percent), compare deals (19 percent) or to download coupons (18 percent), but also to download a savings app (15 percent), use a discount SMS (15 percent) or look for a deal on social media (12 percent). Thanks to the mobility and convenience of smartphones, as well as general increased proficiency, consumers are more efficient at seeking deals, often spending 2 hours or less on these practices.

Social media have potential

Because of increased web and smartphone usage, consumers are sharing deals socially. Most share or swap coupons (82 percent), which helps them save more, but they are willing to be more active in order to receive significant discounts. Most would sign up for an email newsletter or Like a Facebook page, while 17 percent would post a deal on Twitter. But this social expansion is not without some consumer anxiety. Interestingly, in a July survey from MyBuys, many shoppers are willing to share shopping preferences directly with favorite retailers rather than with social networks to enhance their shopping experience. Over half of these respondents were more concerned about sharing personal information or shopping preferences on social channels than with retailers.


By Ivory King