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Report: FSI coupon activity increased 8% in 2009

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Free-standing insert coupon activity increased 8% during 2009 to more than 272 billion coupons dropped versus the previous year, according to Marx Promotion Intelligence, a division of TNS Media Intelligence.

FSI coupons are a vehicle for coupon redemption and product exposure.

This activity level is the highest yearly coupons dropped observed during the past decade, surpassing the second highest annual coupons dropped of 257 billion achieved in 2007.Marx Promotion Intelligence also reported that retailer promotion pages achieved new record levels with a 37.7% increase to more than 9 billion pages in 2009, continuing the pattern of significant annual growth rates which began in 2007.

“As consumers adapt to new economic realities, marketers are increasing their use of FSI coupons within their marketing mix to deliver advertising impact, influence consumer behavior, and secure retailer distribution and merchandising,” said Mark Nesbitt, TNS Media Intelligence president. “Leading retailers are also increasing their use of FSI vehicles to drive planned shopping trips and build shopper loyalty. Manufacturers and retailers are working together to deliver relevant incentives to their consumers and shoppers during increasingly difficult economic times. Although ‘shopper marketing’ tactics are still evolving, FSIs have clearly emerged as a key component of manufacturer and retailer aligned promotion programs.”

FSI coupon support was included as part of 388 new product introductions during this period, up from 334 during 2008.

“After a decline in new product activity in 2008, manufacturers again appear to be investing in innovation to grow their brands,” said Nesbitt.

Corporate “scale” events continued to grow as a promotion tactic in 2009. Scale events included both manufacturer solo inserts in which the entire vehicle is comprised of events from a single manufacturer and multiple-page corporate themed events that are distributed within cooperative FSI coupon vehicles. Corporate scale events contributed in part to the “pre-Easter” promotion week of April 5 having the greatest activity with a weighted average circulation of 144 pages.  The “New Year” promotion week of Jan. 4 (traditionally the heaviest weighted week of the year) was the second most active week in 2009 with 136 pages of FSI promotions.

“Manufacturers are using corporate scale FSI coupon events as an effective advertising vehicle to leverage their brand portfolios to break through the promotion clutter and engage their consumers while also creating a more robust merchandising opportunity for their retailer partners,” added Nesbitt.

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Wegmans buyer notes spike in household cleaning supplies sales

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. A sluggish economy has provided a boost to sales of household cleaning supplies, noted Wegmans buyer Tom Gavin through a press release issued Monday.

The tendency of many families to go “out” less and stay “in” as the economy recovers may have prompted a fresh look around the house, he said, “Cleaning products of all kinds have been selling briskly at Wegmans stores in the past year,” Gavin added. “Maybe with folks spending a little more time at home, they’re noticing things that escaped attention before.”

Recent innovations in cleaning products — especially “green” cleaning products — have also boosted sales, Gavin commented, as customers discover new items that do the work as well or better than before, while also being gentler upon the environment. Some products carry brand names that have been around for generations, such as Clorox and its “Green Works” laundry and household cleaners made from plant-based ingredients and minerals. Other “green” brands are newer on the scene, such as Mrs. Meyers or Method’s lines of household and laundry products.

At the heart of the green cleaning boom is microfibers, now used in dozens of cleaning tools, Gavin suggested. “The growth in microfiber products has been truly impressive. … We’ve seen a double-digit increase in sales in the last year.”

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URAC launches Consumer Education Initiative

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON The nation’s leading healthcare accreditation and education organization has launched a Consumer Education Initiative, designed to teach consumers about health insurance and identifies ways they can make more informed decisions about their health care.

URAC developed a toolkit late last month that features republished materials – originally developed by the American Institutes for Research with funding from the California HealthCare Foundation – that have been recreated into several multi-media tools consumers can use to make better healthcare decisions, assume more “ownership” over their health care, and increase their ability to take on new behaviors to improve their health and the quality of care they receive.

“Many consumers need help navigating through the healthcare maze. Often they do not understand what their healthcare plan covers and how to ask the right questions to get the best plan for their individual needs,” said Alan Spielman, URAC president and CEO. “Knowing when to select an HMO versus a PPO versus a CDHP plan can be difficult. Our initiative empowers consumers to take responsibility and play an active role in their health by breaking down the complex selection process into more understandable components.”

To supplement the toolkit, URAC has also developed a free consumer eLearning course, “Understanding Your Health Insurance.” The course covers key areas including defining health insurance concepts; identifying the impact of rising healthcare costs; comparing the different types of health insurance plans; and defining important elements of health insurance, including prescription coverage, case management and wellness.

For additional information about URAC’s Consumer Education Initiative and to download the Health Care Communications Toolkit, please visit www.urac.org/consumers/.

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