According to Valassis, the UK’s largest provider and processor of vouchers, the UK redeemed 688 million promotion offers in 2014, a large increase from the 604 million processed in 2013. That is a staggering £1.7 billion that UK shoppers are saving and it is anticipated that the 2015 figures will be even better. As probably anticipated grocery vouchers make up 84% of this total. That means that 16% are used on the more fun stuff such as electronics, gardening and holidays. VoucherBin backs up these figures, noting that people often think that vouchers can only be used in the local supermarket shop, when in fact far more money can be saved using vouchers to buy the next TV or holiday.
For those that follow the USA based programme “Extreme Couponing” may wonder as to whether this high level of saving – sometimes up to 99% – is possible in the UK. Well sadly not as the UK voucher business is structured differently. We use loyalty cards for instance and our supermarkets rarely honour each other’s vouchers. UK vouchers rarely allow the user to add several offers together – most have them have these exclusions written in the small print on the back of them. Nor do our newspapers and magazines have multi page inserts that are full of deals. Instead the people visit the voucher sites to redeem the offer at the shopping cart. Although there is a slight rise, last year, in newspaper vouchers after a steady decline from 40 million in 2009 to 20 million in 2014.
Where once, discount codes were seen as the business of the very poor and the desperate they now are common-place and accepted by mainstream purchasers. According to Valassis 99% of supermarket users now using vouchers, making 18% feel better off and enabling a better variety of food to be purchased. Figures from a 2014 survey by Statista, seen below, back up these results.
The UK economy is improving, but it seems that the lower social classes – the DEs – only 14% feel better off using vouchers whereas 22% of the ABs feel better off.
When looking at the volume of savings possible, the average is £5 a month whereas 19% save in excess of £10, figures that have been rising for several years. When placed against the minimum raise this means that the average and good voucher user can work one hour less a month purely because they use vouchers.
Age wise it is the perhaps the wealthier shoppers in the 45-54 age group of which only 14% feel better off, compared with twice as many 16-24 year olds. The biggest surprise is probably that 16-24 year olds have a voucher based shopping habit. However this push by the younger shoppers could be the reason behind the increase in internet based voucher collections. Juniper Research have recently found out from a report that there will be more than 1 billion mobile voucher users by 2019 and that these will be a key catalyst in the explosion of mobile commerce.
The shopping market place is changing and this is being driven by the ease of using the internet via mobile devices and smart TVs. The rise of deal sites such as Groupon as well as money saving tip sites such as MoneySavingExpert are driving the wishes of the UK consumer to always get a deal when shopping. The recession, ofcourse played its part with the general awareness that a salary or wage is not guaranteed and that savings need to be made.
So are vouchers still relevant as the UK moves further away from a recession and into relative prosperity? Certainly the greater use of social media means that the news of a great discount is rapidly circulated. Look what happens when an internet retail site makes a pricing error – Argos, famously sold numerous 49p TVs before they spotted their error.
You can expect the use of vouchers to increase massively as people always appreciates a bargain. Ever burgeoning voucher industry makes the process of finding discounts extremely effortless.