Why are Coupons and Loyalty Programs a Growing Trend?

Despite a slowdown in inflation, grocery shopping remains a financial burden for many, with two-thirds of consumers still struggling to afford their grocery expenses, according to a new consumer survey from Swiftly. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the use of coupons, loyalty programs, and retail apps, highlighting the influential role of personalized digital experiences in driving consumers to physical grocery stores.

In its annual True Cost of a Grocery Shop survey, the retail media and technology provider uncovered how pricing, customization, and convenience shape consumer shopping behaviors. In addition, the report provides retailers with insights that can help them directly address customer needs.

Respondents further revealed that cautious spending affects nearly every aspect of grocery shopping, from item selection to the reliance on discounts.

Additionally, the survey underscores a clear preference for shopping in local grocery stores over other options such as big retail chains, delivery services, and online shopping.

This preference aligns with a significant 30% increase in coupon usage compared to last year and a rise in retail app and loyalty program engagement.

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In response to these economically driven changes in consumer behavior, retailers have an opportunity to integrate digital tools and strategies to maintain in-store traffic.

The shift towards in-person shopping suggests that the desire for in-person experiences outweighs the costs of delivery services and online shopping.

Brick-and-mortar grocers can bridge the digital and physical retail divide by offering user-friendly apps featuring coupons, tailored recommendations, and loyalty rewards, enhancing in-store traffic, increasing basket size, and boosting overall revenue.

Other significant highlights of the survey show that:

  • 82% of respondents use coupons, 64% participate in loyalty programs, and 34% utilize retail apps.
  • 77% prefer shopping in-store at local grocery stores, marking a 7% increase from Swiftly’s 2022 survey.
  • Among respondents with student loan repayments (48%), 28% report an impact on their grocery budgets or shopping habits.
  • 53% of respondents have adjusted their grocery budgets or shopping habits due to rising interest rates.

Henry Kim, CEO of Swiftly, commented, “The ongoing fluctuations in inflation, along with other financial pressures like student loan repayments and rising interest rates, are pushing consumers deeper into debt. Groceries represent a significant portion of consumer expenditure, following housing and transportation costs.”

“Our survey results show that the current economic environment has cultivated shoppers who are not only more deal-focused but also expect savings from their preferred shopping locations. Physical grocery stores must incorporate advanced retail technology tools into their strategies to meet this demand and compete with larger retailers offering lower prices. These tools are essential not just for customer savings but also for building connections, enhancing engagement, and boosting store visits, without which they risk falling behind,” Kim added.

The survey, involving over 1,500 randomized participants who were not compensated, provides a comprehensive overview of current shopping trends.