Chris McAdams, 24, of Chandler recently used coupons to dine at Iguana Mack’s, buy a watch at Kenneth Cole and purchase a computer for his aunt at Dell.com.
Teens and young adults aren’t often considered cost-conscious, but a recent survey about coupon usage among the young dispels that notion.
More than 70 percent of the nation’s 18- to 24-year-olds use coupons to buy everything from cars to computer games, according to a recent survey by shopping industry trackers BIG Research.
But unlike their parents, the younger dealseekers aren’t using 25-cents-off options on vegetables.
Survey respondents indicate that they are more influenced by coupons than the rest of the population in certain categories. That includes buying cars and trucks — 11 percent of younger shoppers use coupons, compared with 8 percent of other shoppers; electronics — 37 percent compared with 23 percent; clothing — 31 percent compared with 24 percent; and telecom services — 9 percent compared with 7 percent.
Arizona State University economist Tracy Clark said the trend is likely spawned by the younger generation’s extensive use of the Internet and the ease of finding and using coupons or specials online.
“Young people are confident doing anything online. If you want a pizza, you can go to pizzahut.com, find any coupons and order the pizza,” Clark said. “It’s not like you have to keep a shoebox full of coupons like your mother or grandmother did.”
Mark Roden, whose Ahwatukee Foothills-based fast-food business includes 48 Subway and four Cold Stone Creamery stores, said young people are becoming value-conscious. But he said they don’t so much clip coupons as compare deals online.
“They are becoming much more savvy about where their dollars are going,” Roden said.
But supermarkets, the coupon capitals of retail, aren’t seeing much of the trend.
Rob Johnson, spokesman for Chandler-based Bashas’, said the company compiles statistics about coupon use but doesn’t collect demographic information about those who redeem them. But after a “seatof-the-pants” phone survey of East Valley store managers, Johnson said the supermarket chain isn’t seeing a lot of college students redeeming coupons.
The coupon users are typically moms with kids. They’re buying weeks’ worth of groceries for the family, he said.
“The younger customers, the college kids, the singles, tend to shop for what they need for dinner that night,” Johnson said. “They are not the mainstream coupon customer.”
McAdams is typical of the trend. The coupons he uses he gets online. The Kenneth Cole purchase was prompted by a coupon e-mailed to him by the luxury retailer.
“If a coupon is targeted to me, there’s a good chance I’ll use it, but if I have to go out and find it, I probably won’t,” McAdams said.