While they were not common at all in Brazil before 2010, discount coupons have been a fever in the United States since the 1930s. In this article, we will take a look at the growing coupon industry in Brazil.
The history of using coupons in Brazil started in the middle of the 1990s in an attempt to mimic the success that coupons had in the United States, where they became very popular during the Great Depression, in the middle of the 1930s. The coupon fever might have worked out in Brazil, if not for the disturbingly high levels of monetary inflation that occurred at the time. Furthermore, coupons took between 60 to 90 days to be refunded, reducing the profit of those who participated in the operation.
Since the beginning of 2010, a new effort for inserting coupons in Brazil is taking place. The accession of consumers to this new consumption habit was quick, as this industry started working intensively on the internet, thanks to the drop in newspaper circulation in Brazil. It is important to mention that 90% of all coupons in the United States are distributed in newspapers. The coupon industry expected that in 2014 it would reach more than 50 million active consumers. Also, according to Google, the search for “discount coupons” in Brazil doubles in number every year.
How coupons work in Brazil
Coupons in Brazil do not work differently when compared to the rest of the world. As elsewhere, it is necessary to present a coupon prior to the purchase of goods - or services - in order to get the proposed discount on it. However, in Brazil it is generally not possible to combine more than one coupon for a specific product, as is widely common in the United States.
But, due to the difference in the way coupons are promoted in Brazil, there are some comments to be made here. In the United States, it is common for coupons to be sent and offered to consumers at all times, in magazines and newspapers. As the Brazilian coupon industry is mainly concentrated on the internet, it is up to the consumers to go after the coupons that interest them. Only recently have coupons begun to be distributed in streets by the stores themselves and mailed to possible consumers.
Coupons in Brazil started being popular after the decline in use of collective buying companies, who, in not being able to handle the high demand of products, were regularly reported to Procon, the institution responsible for assuring consumer rights in Brazil.
Types of coupons in Brazil
As mentioned before - although there are no numbers attesting it - the main way to find coupon promotions in Brazil is via the internet. Added to these, coupons sent through the mail are starting to become more popular with supermarket chains tracking information about consumers and sending coupons that will most likely be used by them.
Other practices that are becoming increasingly common are handing coupons to consumers by street distributors in front of stores or shopping malls and the use of coupons acquired from apps on smartphones.
Where are coupons accepted
Since the new effort of inserting coupons into Brazilian culture, coupons are already accepted in a great number of places. Here are the most famous amongst them:
- Pão de Açucar and Extra Hipermercados - the two main brands of the largest group in the supermarket industry, Companhia Brasileira de Distribuição
- Lojas Riachuelo and Americanas, two of Brazil’s largest department stores
- Habib’s and Burger King, two large Brazilian fast food networks
- Walmart.com and Submarino, large online websites with all kinds of products
- Fnac and Saraiva, major multimedia stores in Brazil
- Casas Bahia, the largest Brazilian furniture retailer
Main players of the coupon industry in Brazil
According to Alexa.com, the coupon websites that are most accessed in Brazil are:
Some of these players offer discounts only for e-commerce, like CupoNation, which partners with over 200 different stores and offers more than 1.000 coupons. On the other hand there are those that concentrate on coupons for regular commerce - where the consumer has to print the coupon and present it in the store in order to get the discount - such as Cuponeria, a website that was partnered with more than 250 stores and had more than 600.000 users per month in its first year of operation in 2012.
Peculiarities in the Brazilian coupon industry
It is worth mentioning that the coupon industry in Brazil has some peculiarities related to the use of coupons. One of them, which is probably one of the main reasons why coupons in Brazil are not as commonly used as in the United States, is that there are no cummulative deals, thus it is not possible to use multiple coupons to get more discount for one product.
Another peculiarity is the use of what can be called “loyalty coupons”. These are normally offered in restaurants or fast food chains and will grant the consumer a discount if they purchase a determined number of products over a period of time. For example, Kopenhagen, one of the main Brazilian food companies specialized in the chocolate sector, will offer one coffee for free if the customer buys 10 coffees over a period of one month.