India is fast becoming a nation of online coupon collectors. While the upward trend of consumers seeking out discounted deals using online digital coupons and promo codes is not exclusive to the subcontinent, India is, in many ways, leading the way.
Figures from IT company Admitad shows that worldwide, the number of purchases made using promotional codes increased by 36 percent in 2021. In India alone, that figure jumped by another 40 percent in the first half of 2022.
Click-throughs from coupon sites also increased by 26 percent in India, with the rest of the world lagging at just 14 percent globally.
This growing appetite for online coupon-clipping has led market analysts, Valassis, to predict that already 90 percent of customers regularly use promo codes when purchasing online. They go as far as to say that a coupon or promo code is a prerequisite for purchase.
As The Online Coupon Market Booms, Trust in It Is Falling
This is where the case gets curious. As the coupon market expands, user trust within it is at an all-time low. The reason for this drop in trust: the brands have overplayed their cards.
In a market that has become oversaturated with branded coupons, consumers have begun to feel exploited by promotions they perceive to offer no real value to them. These can include discounts on pre-raised, over-inflated prices, endless sales on overpriced products, and extra costs hidden within terms and conditions.
The result of all this is that a large segment of India’s coupon clippers has turned their backs on official, branded coupons or promo codes provided by a retailer, brand, or business - whether through their website, newsletter, or push notifications - even when they’re promoting products or services the consumers want to purchase.
Instead, they go hunting for better discounts elsewhere. This leads them to third-party coupon websites.
The Rise of the Coupon Chasers
The method is simple: type the name of your desired product or service into Google, add the word ‘coupon’ or ‘promo code’ to the end and click ‘search’.
Instantly, you’ll find hundreds of hits. Third-party coupon sites featuring leaked special offers, exclusive discounts, personal codes from bloggers, or limited promo actions - promos the brand never intended you to see.
In the search for the best deal, the coupon chasers will have to navigate the pages-upon-pages of expired coupons, fake coupons, and geographically- or store-limited coupons before they strike gold. But this is all part of the hunt.
Kelton Global, a consumer insights consultancy, estimates that this behavior now accounts for more than 35 percent of all online coupon transactions.
What Does This Mean for The Brands?
The downsides of this practice vary but, ultimately, the brands are losing out.
This 35 percent - the coupon chasers - are highly valuable to a brand or business. Coupon purchases in India average out at a value of $40 per purchase, compared to $65 worldwide. Statistics show that these ‘smart shoppers’ make purchases far higher in value than that ordinary customers.
For this reason, it’s important for brands to regain the loyalty of this special 35 percent, target them with approved coupons and promo codes, and keep them within the business’s intended marketing and sales funnels.
If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them
This new consumer behavior isn’t just about finding the best deal. Many of these coupon chasers admit that they love the hunt - that, by finding better offers elsewhere, they feel they’ve cracked some secret internet code.
So, how are brands attempting to cut through this ‘discount chaos’ and win back the loyalty of these 35 percent - coupon chasers?
Well, in a simple yet unexpected way. By entering the third-party coupon sphere themselves.
The fact that promo codes are located on seemingly third-party websites means that, for the 35 percent, the thrill of the hunt continues. Because these ‘dynamic promo codes’ enable brands to track, identify and store the users' data using fingerprint technology, these coupon chasers can be retargeted by advertising later and kept within their sales funnels.
In a sense, the hunter has become the hunted. The game continues.
Regaining - And Retaining - That 35 percent
Creative solutions like Coupon White Label technology have given brands and businesses the power to again reach this unruly, smart and valuable 35 percent of their customer base and to continue to thrive in the exploding world of coupon marketing.
But, what will this technological leap mean for the actual quality of the coupons, discounts, and promo codes the brands offer these coupon chasers? Well, that’s for the brands themselves to decide.