LONDON: Mobile coupons have a significantly higher redemption rate than print or PC coupons and could offer a lifeline to beleaguered high street shops, a new study has found.

The advantages of mobile couponing have changed the whole couponing landscape, argues the report from Juniper Research, the telecoms consultancy, as redemption rates hit 10%, compared to 1% or less for more traditional offers.

Some 10bn mobile coupons are forecast to be redeemed worldwide during 2013, a 50% increase on 2012, as innovative retailers utilise this channel to drive retail footfall and to enhance consumer retention.

Report author Dr Windsor Holden said: "While we've heard that online retail is killing the High Street … mobile offers a means of engaging with the consumer at every point in the retail lifecycle, from product discovery to product purchase."

Two factors are behind this growth. First, there is increased couponing activity generally as a result of economic downturn. Second, consumers are downloading couponing apps as part of wider m-commerce developments.

There are currently 533m mobile coupon users worldwide, with over half of these located in North America.

Other regions are growing fast: in China, for example, the Dianping couponing app had more than 40m downloads by September 2012.

While couponing is expected to get a further boost from the recent launch of Apple's Passbook – an application that allows users to store coupons, boarding passes, event tickets, loyalty cards etc – there are areas that need particular attention.

Juniper warns that retailers need to ensure coupons have a time-based element in order to avoid the situation where an offer unintentionally goes viral and brands are unable to service the demand.

And a  major stumbling block to the faster adoption of mobile coupons is the reluctance of retailers to upgrade point-of-sale terminals for authentication and redemption.

Data sourced from Juniper Research; additional content by Warc staff