As of today, September 22, 2013, Kroger has stopped coupon doubling in its Southeast Region, following similar moves in other parts of the country. The question is, “How badly will this impact couponers?”
Before couponers start doing the Chicken Little dance, our Insiders have some perspective that might soothe the fears of couponers.
At this point we don’t know whether or when coupon-multiplying competitors will follow suit. We believe that Publix will continue its doubling (outside of Florida), but we’ll explain why in a different post. Even if everyone were to drop the doubling, then our Insiders have 5 reasons why the sky will not fall on couponers:
- Doubling is a small portion of most couponers’ overall savings. An analysis of register tapes indicated that 4.9% of our savings is due to the effect of doubling, combining doubles from all stores, but most of this was at Publix. So the worst case is the loss of 4.9% of our coupon savings, but on reality it won’t be that much, because of these other reasons.
- Doubling causes us to buy products that we otherwise would not. Marketers know that we can’t resist free or nearly free products. It’s time to sit back and use up that stockpile of mustard, toothpaste, and Yakisoba.
- Fewer and fewer coupons can be doubled anyway. The average face value of a coupon in 2012 has increased to a record $1.56, according to coupon services giant Inmar. Most retailers have kept the doubling limit at 50¢ for many years while coupon values have been increasing. Inflation is quietly killing the double-able coupon. You could say that Kroger is putting doubling ut of its misery.
- Brands will pick up some of the slack with other deals. Let’s face it: brands want to sell products. Those brands that have relied on coupon doubling will see their sales decline if they don’t increase coupon values. Watch for more lucrative coupons and other exciting promotions. We predict that 75¢ will become the new 50¢.
- Kroger is not raising prices, they are reallocating marketing expenses. Coupon doubling is a marketing program typically offered to match the competition. According to our Insiders, Kroger knows that their major competitor is Wal-Mart, not Publix. Kroger will redirect the money spent on coupon doubling to take on Wal-Mart in other ways.
Put this all together, and the news is really not that bad for couponers. Of course Colgate dropped a doubleable 50¢ on Speed Stick in today’s paper, and there will be other times that we yearn for the good old days of doubling. But clever couponers will still be able to find great deals. You might have to change methods a little, and be willing to shop in other places, but the sky is not falling.
Keep reading our blog for more Insider strategies and techniques that will help you maximize your savings, so much that you might just forget that doubling ever happened!