Study: Shoppers Still Prefer Paper Coupons Over Digital Discounts

Though we are living in an increasingly digital world with a smartphone app for everything under the sun, when it comes to scoring discounts on everyday products, shoppers would rather stick with what they know best: coupon-clipping the old-fashioned way, with the daily newspaper and a trusty pair of scissors to do the job.

That’s according to a new report from the folks at, in a recent look into how consumers are using different methods to find discounts and deals.

In an August 2015 survey that commissioned from GfK Custom Research North America, 63% of U.S. credit/debit cardholders who use coupons say when it comes time to get a deal, they most frequently hand over coupons from newspapers, mailings and other paper products.

Coming in at a distant second is using a discount code online at 17%, followed by presenting a coupon or discount code on one’s phone at just 15% of respondents. As one might expect, older generations are more loyal to paper coupons — which was the only way to use a coupon for a long time — but the survey found that even millennials are using paper coupons twice as much as any other method.

“Dead trees aren’t dead when it comes to coupons,” said Matt Schulz,’s senior industry analyst. “Plenty of Americans are still opening their snail mail and reading the Sunday paper,” he added, though he expects paper coupons to eventually lose out to digital methods as people get more comfortable with electronic coupons.

Overall, about 85% of Americans use coupons, though most of those shoppers only use them occasionally.

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