Valassis, provider of coupons and discount vouchers online, has published the results of an investigation which shows the clear growth of the use of this type of resources that have become a powerful sales promotion tool for retailers that try to take advantage of the opportunity of the current needs of consumers.

The growth is significant: 61% of online consumers use coupons, exceeding 52% of the month of June of the year 2010. The study also reports that 37% of consumers are actively seeking offers and promotions, exceeding 28% from the previous year.

In addition to this, while vouchers have traditionally been perceived as being used by lower social groups and the unemployed, the research found that all buyers are using them, not limited to a situation or social group.

Promotions often reflect economic conditions and this change is happening at the expense of many other mechanisms, such as promotions with prizes or recreational contests. Brands and retailers seem to be trying to show consumers that they will receive something in exchange for buying their products, and this medium has been chosen.

However, any promotional offer must have a real sense of the value attached to it. This applies to both coupons and collectibles or gifts, as the average consumer is highly sensitive to the value of an offer and this is a key consideration for professional risk assessors in predicting redemption rates.

Thus, for example, offering a 10 cent bonus of a package of margarine is perceived within a range acceptable to the consumer, while offering a coupon of 10 cents on a product of € 50 is likely to be seen as something laughable.

In the past, it has even been found that a 50 cent coupon will work better than a free trial bonus, because it allows the brand and the product itself to maintain a certain value.

But a warning must also be issued, and even though coupons are an easy and effective way in the short term, brands should be aware that the reimbursement rates of coupons must be good, so it is necessary to make sure to have the proper promotion.