Blog | 13 February, 2018

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Uptake of promotions – through the generations

Everyone likes a good deal. But the way that different shoppers are getting their deals is more varied than ever these days. It’s no secret that older shoppers – generally speaking – prefer tried-and-true paper coupons, while younger shoppers are more drawn to digital discounts. But when might the tipping point occur, when digital eclipses paper for good?

US sales and marketing firm Acosta explores that issue, in the new 14th edition of its “The Why? Behind The Buy” report. Their study examines the grocery shopping and saving habits of five distinct generations, from “Gen Z” young adults to senior citizens.

Acosta finds that seniors are “big redeemers of print coupons”, with nine out of ten of those surveyed saying that they have redeemed a paper grocery coupon within the past month. They’re also the most brand loyal, indicating that 84% of the grocery brands they purchase now are the same brands they purchased last year.

Next up are the Baby Boomers. Acosta describes them as “technology-capable” – they can deal with digital and mobile technology, but only if they have to. Only 14% of boomers say they’re likely to use a mobile coupon when grocery shopping. They’re also extremely loyal, with 93% saying they grocery shop most often at the same store as last year.

Generation X is where the digital divide begins to show. “The Gen X population learned to adapt to digital technology in early adulthood, leaving them with one foot in the past and one foot in the future,” the report notes. So they embrace both old and new styles of shopping and saving. “While Gen X shoppers are not always in the lead in using grocery digital tools, significantly more redeemed digital grocery coupons in the past month, as compared to other generations, including coupons downloaded to a shopper card and coupons printed from a coupon or retailer website,” the report finds.

Now for the millennials. They are “digital natives, so it’s natural for them to use technology while grocery shopping,” Acosta notes. Compared to boomers, nearly three times as many millennials are likely to use mobile coupons. 60% of them use mobile apps for grocery coupons or rebates, significantly more than any other generation.

With well over half of millennials actively seeking out coupons, this shows that the market for digital coupons has potential for massive growth, particularly once these digitally-savvy shoppers grow older, start families and do more grocery shopping.