Excerpted from Consumers Pick Up Clip of Coupons, by Anjali Cordeiro for wsj.com:
After years of ignoring coupons that offer rebates on daily household products, cash-strapped consumers are showing more of an appetite for these small discounts.
Last year was the first time in 15 years that coupon redemptions didn’t decline, research shows. Individual companies have mixed reports on coupon usage, but a broad Unilever NV study in the U.S. found that in the first quarter, the percentage of goods sold via coupon rose from a year earlier.
The weakening economy is now pushing some companies to use coupons as a creative way of promising better “value” to consumers. As consumers eat out less, Kraft Foods Inc., for instance, has created coupons that are intended to make the idea of a brown-bag lunch more financially appetizing. The company has put together coupon booklets with a dollar off on each of six brands that go toward a sandwich: Oscar Mayer deli meats, Kraft cheese slices, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise and Ritz toasted chips.
“Consumers are looking for coping mechanisms,” says Lisa Klauser, vice president of consumer and customer solutions, at products company Unilever U.S. “Coupons are one way they are trying to make ends meet, get more bang for the buck.”