Major changes in retailers’ use of digital coupons and free standing insert promotions were evident in 2013 and especially pronounced at Walmart, Target and Kroger, according to an extensive analysis conducted by the Marx division of Kantar Media.
Retailers’ overall advertising expenditures were relatively in 2013 when compared to the prior year; however, there were large spikes in digital coupon events and free standing insert (FSI) coupon promotion pages.
Digital coupons distributed on retailer websites led the growth with a 39.5% increase, followed by a 25.6% increase in retailer participation in FSI coupon promotion pages. There was also a 12.6% increase in total retailer feature ad pages distributed. Although total retailer advertising remained flat in 2013, Marx’ analysis show Walmart, Kroger and Target had significant increases.
“These trends indicate that marketing dollars are increasingly being directed toward programs that communicate specific and easy-to-understand value to the shopper when the shopper is actively making purchase decisions,” said Dan Kitrell, vp of Marx Account Solutions at Kantar Media. “Although retailer TV, radio, internet, and other advertising may include specific price promotion information, it may not reach shoppers when they are seeking or receptive to this information. However, an FSI coupon promotion showing a retailer’s featured price combined with potential coupon savings or a retailer feature ad that mentions a digital coupon available on the retailer’s website are easy to understand and are likely being read by a shopper when they are writing their shopping list for the week.”
Significant shifts in advertising and promotion activity were observed among leading retailers across the mass, food, drug and other retail sales channels. For example, Walmart had the greatest levels of actual advertising expenditures and the highest level of participation in retailer FSI promotion pages in 2013, increasing their activity in these areas 32.9% and 30.8% respectively. Walmart further benefitted from a 25.2% increase in digital coupon activity on Walmart.com and a 43.7% increase in retail feature ad pages, according to Marx data. Not to be outdone by Walmart’s heightened level of activity, Target also ex