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Do Coupons Work?

With gas and food prices arching ever skyward, retailers are embracing coupons as a way to entice that discretionary dollar, according to CNN Money. They quote a survey from that states that 63 percent of consumers “said they would not make a purchase if there was no deal attached.”

And so coupons must be flourishing. Right?

Well, whatever consumers may tell pollsters, they don’t seem particularly keen on cashing in. According to this AP story: “U.S. consumers redeemed less than 1 percent of the estimated 285 billion coupons issued last year for groceries and various packaged goods.”

It goes on to profile a new service from Coupons, Inc. called the “Brandcaster,” which aims to do to coupon advertising what Google did for Internet advertising. The theory is that more context-specific coupon marketing will improve performance.