So, here we are. We’ve launched this new website, which has as its entire purpose the goal of helping you find coupons, sales and specials, and we have to wonder…do South African’s actually use coupons? Well, we would not have launched this site if we did not believe that you would. Coupons have been around for ages and are extremely popular in the USA and the UK, however in South Africa they seem to have not really taken off. This is most likely for a few reasons.
One, the most popular “type” of coupon in the USA and the UK are internet coupons, which are used when purchasing from a website (e-commerce store). In South Africa, our e-commerce is still growing, and there are still only a few websites to purchase from and only a small percentage of our population who has internet connection and who actively purchase online. The numbers are growing, but we are definitely lagging behind.
Two, as you would have seen (if you watch the show extreme couponing), a way that the consumers save the most is when they combine coupons with in-store specials and promotions. One thing you will notice that almost every coupon in South Africa states, is that they can not be used in conjunction with any other special, discount or promotion. This severely limits the amount you can save, unfortunately.
Third, we have less competition in terms of the number of stores and the number of brands in South Africa, so there is less incentive from the manufacturers and the stores to provide us with coupons and specials.
So those are the reasons why I feel couponing in South Africa hasn’t officially taken off. However you can see that we are open to the opportunity of using them. Look at how well the group buying sites have performed in the past 12 months in South Africa, some selling thousands of discounted coupons for restaurants, hair salons and accommodation places, as well as for actual products. In addition, look at how well the Pick n Pay’s Smart Shopper has performed. Yes this is a loyalty program, but the reason you join is that you earn points on your purchases, plus you can get specials on certain products. The last I heard they had racked up close to 5 million members.
The only way to get South African’s using coupons is to make them (1) more available, (2) easier to use and (3) more socially acceptable.