Mobile accelerates digital coupon use (and an interesting dog fight)
The digital industry is almost 20 years old, but it is far from boring (yet). The more noteworthy trends and innovations are coming not from the “pure” digital stuff (e.g. think websites), but at the intersection of the physical and digital. One of these is in the area of coupons.
Although this has long been a pretty static industry, the inception of digital is disrupting this industry – big time. eMarketer, in one of its latest publications, reports that mobile is driving use of coupons (not surprising); it expects about 33% of all smart phone users will use coupons, up from about 20% in 2011. Why does this matter? There’s real money to made (or lost) here: The coupons market is approximately a $10B market (compared to the mobile advertising market, which is ~$8B).
I think what’s more interesting is that the future of this space is not guaranteed to be “won” by those that are the incumbents; this space is being attacked from multiple players – Vendors in the coupons space (think Groupon, Coupons.com), Mobile payments players (think ISIS), issuers and network providers (think V.me from Visa) and software companies (think Google Wallet).
Expect plenty of positioning, tall claims and a rash of acquisitions.