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Still Waiting on that Mobile Couponing Explosion

Usage and interest build…slowly

November 2, 2010 | Retail & Ecommerce

According to some predictions in 2009, mobile couponing was ripe for takeoff. While relatively few mobile users had redeemed a coupon through their phone, many were interested, and Yankee Group predicted an increase in the number of mobile coupons redeemed in North America in 2010 from 200,000 to 2.3 million.

But consumers have been slow to climb on board. According to a September 2010 survey conducted by OnePoll for mobile transaction network mBlox, fewer than 15% of US mobile subscribers have redeemed a mobile coupon. This is about twice the penetration Yankee Group found in 2009.

US Mobile Phone Users Who Have Ever Used a Mobile Coupon, Sep 2010 (% of respondents)

Also in September, research from the In-Store Marketing Institute found 12% of US shoppers had used a mobile coupon, and 34% were interested in doing so. mBlox found even greater interest, at nearly 42%, but both these numbers were significantly down from the 73% of US consumers who told Yankee Group last year that they wanted mobile coupons.

Overall, respondents to the mBlox survey still preferred to clip coupons the traditional way—receiving them by mail. Email was popular with nearly a third, and a combination of email and text message with nearly 11%.

Ways that US Mobile Phone Users Would Prefer to Receive Coupons, Sep 2010 (% of respondents)

For many smartphone users, there is little difference between receiving a coupon by email, online or by text message—any of those channels could lead to mobile coupon redemption. But the majority of mobile users are still tied to feature phones that would require text-based coupons and likely a worse user experience.

Still, such users are interested in receiving location-based mobile alerts, especially coupons, and parents are the ripest target for such messaging.

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Check out today’s other article, “The Role of Customer Product Reviews.”



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