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A new study by AOL’s Platform-A and Information Resources, Inc. reports that nearly 40 percent of shoppers would be very likely to use coupons accessed online. Additional findings from this survey indicate that, not surprisingly, newspaper coupons are most popular with older demographics (more than 80 percent of consumers aged 55 and older clip newspaper coupons).

The real surprise, though, is how much online coupons appeal to younger demo brackets. Of the 18- to 24-year-old bracket, 51 percent say they’d be very likely to use coupons presented to them online. For the 25- to 34-year-old bracket, this intention is 40 percent, still quite high.

Several players are getting in front of this curve. For example, as noted in an earlier post by analyst Mike Boland, Valpak is already doing online couponing; it’s now adding mobile access and making a specific push into online social networks — key haunts of the younger demos.

Clearly, a lot of online couponing will be for CPG (consumer packaged goods) offered by national companies. But we believe this also represents an intriguing opportunity for local businesses to rethink their promotional vehicles. According to Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor survey of small-business advertising, only 10 percent to 13 percent of SMBs use couponing (from the past three waves of LCM). Maybe this old format will be rethought by SMBs for the online space.

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