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Shoppers Turn to Smartphones and Tablets to Cash In Coupons

Tablet users are more likely to redeem coupons than smartphone users

November 14, 2014 | Retail & Ecommerce | Mobile

Consumers continue to use digital coupons to stretch their dollars. eMarketer forecasts that digital coupon users, which include internet users ages 18 and older who redeem a digital coupon or code via any device for online or offline shopping at least once per year, will account for 55.0% all US internet users in 2014. The digital coupon audience is a relatively mature group, but there's still room for modest growth over the next few years.

US Adult Digital Coupon Users and Penetration, 2013-2016 (millions, % of adult internet users and % change)

Mobile coupon users are making up a growing portion of the larger digital coupon audience as more consumers make in-home purchases via smartphone and tablet and as more shoppers use a mobile device to enhance their in-store experiences. eMarketer expects the number of adults who redeem coupons via mobile device for either online or offline shopping to rise from 78.69 million to 104.11 million between 2014 and 2016, or from 70.0% to 82.0% of all digital couponers.

US Adult Mobile Coupon Users and Penetration, 2013-2016 (millions, % of mobile device users and % of digital coupon users)

Younger deal-savvy shoppers who are heavy smartphone users have especially embraced mobile couponing in recent years.

eMarketer estimates that only 36.5% of marketers will offer mobile coupons in 2014. By 2016, 44.5% of marketers will do so. The increasing usage of mobile coupons by brands, continued smartphone and tablet adoption (especially among the less-penetrated older audiences) and the rising number of mobile channels offering easily accessible coupons—such as mobile apps, daily deal and group buying sites, email, and social networks—will help fuel double-digit growth in marketer uptake, which will persist through 2016.

Share of US Companies Using Mobile Coupons for Marketing Purposes, 2013-2016 (% of total)

Tablet users are much likelier to make online purchases compared with smartphone users. Similarly, adult tablet users are more likely than adult smartphone users to redeem mobile coupons. This year, 53.0% of the tablet consumer base will use a tablet for coupon redemption, compared to 40.0% of the US smartphone audience who will do so via smartphone.

Tablets are commonly used for digital purchases at home, while many shoppers use their smartphones to redeem coupons while making purchases in brick-and-mortar stores. As smartphone users become more at ease with mobile buying, consumers will increasingly redeem coupons via smartphones. eMarketer forecasts that the number of smartphone coupon users will surpass that of tablet coupon users in 2015, though tablet users will continue to lead in mobile coupon user penetration.

eMarketer bases all of its forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.

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