This summer, the Southeast is hot — and not just in terms of the weather, but also for online marketing. A recent survey shows that consumers in the Deep South are the most avid “clippers” of online offers, included free samples, printable coupons, opt-in e-mail promotions and other special offers made via the Internet.
According to a study of 7.5 million online shoppers in 210 designated marketing areas (DMAs) conducted by CoolSavings, an online direct marketing and media company based in Chicago, folks in Southern cities were among the most active participants in targeted online marketing. Their “virtual clipping” tendencies were in the double digits above the national average (see chart at right).
“A combination of factors, including brand loyalty and grocery store ‘coupon wars,’ are likely factors that make Southerners the most active coupon clippers,” says Matthew Moog, president and CEO of CoolSavings.
For example, Simmons Market research cites a greater percentage of consumers in the Southeast agree to the statement that “I prefer shopping at stores that carry the best brands,” and that “Because of a coupon, I was drawn to a store where I do not usually shop.”
Battling for the business of these brand-loyal consumers has upped the marketing ante for grocery stores in the South, which often wage “coupon wars,” during which they may double or triple the savings on coupons redeemed by shoppers. This “increases the value of a wide selection of printable grocery store coupons,” Moog pointed out.
The size of these markets may also play a role in the growing importance of the Internet to shoppers, according to Lorraine Gallagher of CMS, a Winston-Salem, NC-based manufacturer’s agent that reconciles coupon and trade promotion transactions between manufacturers and retailers. “Because traditional printed FSIs are mostly geared toward larger markets, people living outside major metropolitan areas may be turning to the internet for coupons,” she observed. “We have found that internet offers have been very attractive compared to the average offer in the Sunday paper, giving consumers in markets without FSIs an even more compelling incentive for turning to online sources.”
In addition to CoolSavings, consumers clip online coupons and other Internet offers by visiting such sites as ValuePage.com, majority-owned by Catalina Marketing of St. Petersburg, FL, and E-Centives, which is based in Bethesda, MD.
“Whether in Dixie or elsewhere in the U.S.,” Moog says, “the growth of ‘clicking’ for coupons is driven by consumers who are looking for simple ways to save on the brands they want, as well as product manufacturers’ growing belief in the power of the Internet to increase loyalty and sales.”
|Market||% activity over U.S. avg.|
|Lake Charles, LA||14|