From Extreme to Mainstream: The Shift in America’s Couponing Habits Amid Inflation
Last Updated: May 18, 2023
An extreme couponer is someone who goes to great lengths to collect and stack coupons and time their purchases with deals and promotions to pay as little as possible for everyday items. But we wanted to know, with the economy in the U.S. rapidly deteriorating and inflation leaving groceries more expensive than ever before, is “extreme” couponing even extreme anymore? Or is it just necessary?Lotterycritic.com surveyed shoppers across the country to find out how penny pinchers are…well, pinching pennies, which states are the most frugal, and how normal extreme couponing really is.Key takeaways:
15% of Americans are considered extreme couponers
More than half — 54% — of U.S. residents use coupons to fight inflation
1 in 3 people will skip Memorial Day sales because of inflation
43% of Americans rely on seasonal sales to make major purchases
Inflation will cost the retail industry around $56 billion this year
How 54% of Americans Use Coupons to Battle Inflation
We’re not sure “extreme” is the right word anymore, as 15% of Americans are considered extreme couponers. That means more than one in ten people you see at the grocery store are about to use pockets full of coupons to save big on everyday items.Residents in Colorado are the most likely to get extreme with their frugal techniques, with 51% spending time and energy to stack coupons, sniff out deals, and save. Georgia, Texas, and Florida were up there as well, coming in at 47%, 42%, and 36%, respectively.More than half of couponers — 54%, to be exact — use couponing as a means of fighting inflation, and 42% use savings and deals to make purchases they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.And even then, it seems like shoppers could be doing more to save. Americans only save an average of $63 per month using coupons. Plus, 31% don’t take advantage of the lucrative deals you can get if you actually bother to install those mobile apps for fast food and fast-casual restaurants. Not only can you skip the line at McDonald’s with their app, but you can also get deep discounts and free items just for using the app.
The Moratorium on Memorial Day Shopping
Memorial Day sales have long been a U.S. tradition. When else would thousands of people battle their way through an Old Navy to save $1 on a pair of flip-flops? But this year, 1 in 3 people will skip Memorial Day sales because of inflation. Even with deals and discounts, shopping just isn’t in the cards for 34% of America.Memorial Day shopping is getting hit the hardest in West Virginia, with 67% of residents stating they’re sitting on the sidelines because of inflation. Pennsylvania, Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Wisconsin all come in at or above 50%.The top ten states where residents do the most Google searches for Memorial Day deals are:
Based on where shoppers are skipping out the most, that means there’s going to be some serious Memorial Day savings FOMO in Colorado and Louisiana.To put that into perspective, 43% of Americans rely on seasonal deals to make major purchases, so with Memorial Day sales getting skipped, that new T.V. will have to wait another year.
The Types of Coupons Most Popular in Each State
The most popular type of coupon in the country, which tops the charts in 16 states, is one with a percentage-off deal. Free shipping coupon codes are the next most-searched-for type, with 14 states searching for it more than any other variety.These two coupon options were followed by seasonal discounts in four states and “free gift with purchase” and cashback coupons in three states each. Those meal deals we mentioned before? They’re the most popular in just two states.
Will Inflation Ruin Memorial Day Shopping for America?
Seems like it. Based on data from Petra Industries, most adults will spend around $486 over Memorial Day weekend. After a visit to the Census Bureau’s website and some number crunching, we found that the expected revenue on an average Memorial Day weekend is just over $100 billion. With 34% of Americans skipping the sales, inflation is costing the retail industry an estimated $56 billion this year. Even stacks on stacks on stacks of coupons might not bring in enough business to make up those losses.
We surveyed 1,000 Americans in May 2023, with an average age of 37, about past and current shopping and coupon trends to see where and how pennies were being pinched. Most of the participants — 57% — were female, 40% were male, and 3% identified as non-binary or other.We also used Google Trends data to see where and which coupon search terms were used the most often.