Since 1987, the US newspaper industry has been in slow decline and most believe it is due to the development of the internet. Even newspapers are creating online editions to keep pace with their readers. As the internet business continues to boom, daily deal websites are becoming the rage. With the group buying phenom hitting nearly every country, print coupons are becoming seemingly obsolete. But, perhaps it isn’t the internet or the daily deal sites making the print coupons obsolete, as it is the print coupons themselves.
One great example of this was I was using a Groupon deal to a local restaurant I had never tried before. I was talking to the owner of the restaurant, asking how successful the Groupon advertising had been for their establishment, and she said over 500 people had dined in as a result of the deal. She went on to say that she recently put a coupon in the local paper for nearly $1,000.00 for a “Buy 1 Dinner, Get 1 Dinner Free” deal. Unsuccessfully, the coupon only brought in about 5 customers, costing her way more than she made.
Even though the Groupon copy-cat websites may seem to do marginal in comparison with Groupon, they have a larger market share than coupons from the local newspapers. Considering the larger distribution due to e-mail, these deals reach consumers much faster and more frequently. On the other hand, some will argue that almost 60% of consumers mention print coupons as their main source. This could be because consumers are able to purchase more using print coupons. They can visit a grocery store and purchase a weeks worth of groceries, whereas the Groupon deals are aimed at one particular item or service. Additionally, older consumers who are less acquainted with the internet are most likely to stick to their reliable source of coupons – print ads. They are less likely to jump on the technology bandwagon and print out electronic coupons.
There really does not appear to be a real threat to either electronic or print coupons. With the rise of couponing and shows such as “Extreme Couponing”, consumers are more encouraged to reach for their Sunday newspaper to stock up and save on their weekly groceries and personal items, as well as activities and restaurants. On the other hand, with the rise of online deals, other consumers are logging on excessively to anxiously await the next daily deal. In a falling economy, everyone is reaching for deals from wherever they can find them. As deals become available, it seems the source is not that important.