For retailers struggling with ever-decreasing coupon redemption rates, new research offers opportunity, inspiration, and direction. CodeBroker surveyed over 1,200 consumers on a wide range of topics related to traditional printed and mobile coupon use.

Topics involved everything from how consumers want to acquire and redeem coupons to the types of coupons they see as valuable. The survey even provides evidence as to what would encourage them to sign up for a retailer’s marketing list. Results also show that mobile coupons are reaching a “tipping point” over paper coupons and discounts and how retailers can use them to their advantage.

The Mobile Coupon “Tipping Point”

One of the primary results of the mobile coupon survey proves that digital and mobile coupons are now just about as popular as traditional printed coupons. While slightly more than half (53%) of respondents still prefer paper coupons, those preferring mobile coupons have now reached 47%. As time has progressed, the percentage has grown to this tipping point that mobile coupons will not likely relinquish for the foreseeable future. Those who have seen diminishing redemption rates now have an answer as to why. Fewer consumers prefer printed coupons.

Creating “Urgency” with Mobile Coupons

The survey findings may also hold the answer to how retailers may add sought-after “urgency” to their offers. It appears the answer is in mobile delivery via text message.

When respondents were asked how likely they would redeem a coupon that was text messaged to them, a whopping 60% said they would use it within a week. Perhaps just as interesting is the fact that 25%, or one in four people, would redeem a coupon they received by text message within just three days. Only 15% said it would take longer than a week to redeem a text messaged coupon.

Type of Coupons Users View as “Valuable”

CodeBroker’s research also provides insight into the type of coupons consumers perceive as having the most value. When asked what type of coupon they would prefer, 77% of respondents said they would rather have a one-time use coupon of more significant value, than a lower value coupon they could use time and again. This places a challenge on retailers to work with a coupon platform that can provide coupons with single-use reliability.

How to Acquire more Participants for your Branding List

Retailers are always looking for ideas to increase sign-ups for their brand’s list. The report shows that consumers are more likely to take advantage of instant gratification to encourage sign-up, rather than some lengthy or confusing loyalty plan.

When asked “Are you more likely to join a retailer’s/brand’s marketing list if you receive an instant coupon as an incentive to join the list?”, an impressive 68% indicated an instant discount would provide enough incentive. That’s a full two-thirds of respondents that are willing to join a list, based on an instant deal.

Consumers Want Mobile Coupons

The survey asked respondents about “pain points” when it comes to coupon use. Two predominant issues with printed coupons are that 77% of respondents indicated they didn’t have them when needed. The remaining 23% were frustrated with coupons that weren’t available via their smartphone. Timing and access are clearly problems with traditional printed coupons that can be resolved with digital, mobile alternatives.

The Bottom Line

Retailers looking for takeaways in the survey can get excited about the current strength and future potential of mobile coupons. The survey gives clear indications that consumers want and will use digital coupons when best practices are used. It shows how to increase brand list sign-ups and the best form of digital delivery.


The survey involved 1,204 respondents of which 55% were male and 45% were female. 28% of those participating were 18-29 years of age; 36% were 30 to 44 years old; 22% ranged from 45 to 60 years old and 14% were 60 years and older. Income range of participants were as follows:

  • Less than $25,000 – 27%
  • $25,000 – $50,000 – 25%
  • $50,000 – $75,000 – 18%
  • $75,000 – $100,000 – 12%
  • More than $100,000 – 18%

For a more detailed look at what U.S. consumers really want from mobile coupons, read the complete 14-page 2018 Mobile Coupon Consumer Research Report.