Study Sponsored By RetailMeNot: Customers Save $200/Hour Using RetailMeNot

Like this, but virtual. (KogeLiz)

Like this, but virtual. (KogeLiz)

A whitepaper written by a University of Texas economist and the staff of coupon site came to a shocking conclusion: consumers can save a lot of money by using RetailMeNot and other online coupon and savings resources. How much? The site’s own statistics show that shoppers save around $17 per purchase by using deal websites, and parents with children at home saved almost twice that amount.

Of course, that statistic would mean that the average online shopper was making 11 to 12 purchases per hour, or buying one thing every five minutes. That’s unlikely, even during the holiday season. It makes more sense when the paper’s author, Professor Jason Abrevaya, points out that deal sites save shoppers’ time by helping them save money without spending a lot of time researching deals on their own.

Instead, deals and coupon codes are in one one place, saving shoppers time. How much time? An estimated 100 million hours of shopping time that Americans presumably decided to spend “liking” pictures of their friends’ cats on Facebook instead. Not that deal sites are always a time-saver: Dr. Abrevaya points out that a minority of shoppers say that using deal sites actually took more time, presumably from shopping more or wrestling with coupons or rebates.

The survey these estimates are based on only had 1,000 participants, but Dr. Abrevaya used it to draw conclusions about all online shoppers. For example, he calculated that deal and coupon sites save shoppers a total of $4 billion just during the peak of the holiday shopping season in November and December of 2013.

Holiday Haul: How Shoppers Will Save $5 Billion This Holiday Season [RetailMeNot] (PDF download – via press release)

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