LONDON: Consumers are using promotions less frequently than before and the proportion not using any at all has doubled in the past four years, according to a new study which suggests changing shopping behaviour may be a factor.

Research company fast.MAP surveyed 1,028 consumers for its 2015 Marketing Gap report and found that their use of all types of promotions had fallen over the past four years, while 16% said they had not used any, up from 8% in 2012.

David Cole, managing director at fast.MAP, highlighted the trend away from a single large weekly shop at a supermarket and towards more frequent trips to local stores as one reason for this development.

"It has almost certainly contributed to the year-on-year decline," he told Marketing Week. "Also, it is becoming increasingly difficult to engage consumers' interest across all media channels."

Tim Eales, UK director of strategic insight at market research business IRI, made a similar point earlier this year in Admap, when he pointed out that smaller shopping trips tend not to work with the sort of 3-for-2 deals that have been a promotional staple for some years.

Reward/loyalty schemes remain the most popular promotional tactic, according to fast.MAP, with 53% of respondents having used these during the past 12 months, followed by price discounts (42%).

Traditional printed coupons of various sorts continue to be more widely used than digital ones.

Printed coupons consumers had received were most used (35%), then came coupons from a previously bought pack (29%). Some 27% had used coupons printed from the internet or an email, but this was down from 49% in 2012.

Printed coupons from other sources such as magazines (27%) and printed coupons dropped through the door (17%) also retained a degree of popularity.

But coupons downloaded from a coupon website were used by just 16% of respondents and those accessed through a mobile phone by only 8%.

The study also reported that supermarket promotional mailings are more likely to be opened straight away than those from any other industry sector: 37% of respondents indicated this was their reaction, while only 5% thought to do this with communications from loan companies.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff