CPGmatters: FSIs Poised for Growth After ‘Historic’ 2009
By James Tull
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of
a current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.
Freestanding inserts (FSIs)
– always a significant force in couponing – have surged in recent times.
In fact, FSIs have seen the most activity in a decade, with over 272 billion
coupons dropped in 2009, representing an increase of eight percent since
2008, according to the 7th annual FSI Distribution Trends Report.
Authored by Marx Promotion
Intelligence, a division of TNS Media Intelligence, the report says retailer
promotion pages earned a record spike, increasing more than 37 percent
to in excess of nine billion pages in 2009. This continues the pattern
of substantial year-over-year growth rates that started in 2007.
“Last year was an historic
one for the FSI industry as well as for coupon industry in general,” said
Tom Murray, vice president & general manager, freestanding inserts
for Valassis. “Redemption was up 23 percent. Clearly, coupons have never
been more relevant to consumers.”
Mr. Murray confirms that
2009 represented the single highest page volume in history for FSIs. All
the consumer and economics factors are currently in place for another big
year, he added.
Mark Nesbitt, president,
TNS Media Intelligence, says that leading retailers are also increasing
their use of FSI vehicles to drive planned shopping trips and further solidify
shopper loyalty. Both retailers and manufacturers are working together
to deliver relevant incentives to their consumers and shoppers.
Meshing the goals of retailers
and manufacturers is something Tom Murray believes in.
“Over the last three years,
Valassis has observed a number of key changes in the marketplace that have
helped us form our current FSI strategy,” he said. “In order to facilitate
this change in consumer behavior, we have worked to align our FSI distribution
model to dovetail with how major retailers go to market.”
Mr. Murray says that one
particular change is in the consumer’s weekly stock-up shopping trip, as
it is more of a pre-planned event than ever before. More consumers now
use a list when they shop (65 percent according to IRI’s 2009 Consumer
Trends) and the two key pieces of information consumers use to create
their shopping list are the weekly retail circular and selection of coupons
that are available such as FSIs, he added.
With so many factors to
consider, it is no wonder that companies such as Valassis are looking at
a multi-tiered approach in order to most effectively engage customers.
“Our FSI strategy is actually
much more than a shared mail strategy,” Mr. Murray said. “We believe that
in order to continue to reach consumers in significant numbers it will
take a fully integrated media platform that will include newspapers, shared
mail, online and digital coupons.”
Questions: What’s supporting the growth in freestanding inserts? What
trends do you see driving FSIs over the next several years? What the
best ways for retailers to optimize their FSI strategies?