Integrated print and digital promotion: 2020 trends & insights

Despite a turbulent year, 3,282 manufacturers offered nearly $189 billion in coupon incentives in 2020.
25 February 2021
Digital and print promotion trends 2020
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As manufacturers and retailers grappled with the upheaval caused by COVID-19, consumer packaged goods manufacturers focused on maintaining key promotion strategies as overall coupon activity decreased in step with the declines felt across the larger advertising ecosystem. 

Kantar’s connected media intelligence can help you master the changing media landscape with unrivaled data assets, pioneering technology, and long-established expertise. With these advertising insights, we have analyzed promotion trends from 2020 including the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to see where the industry is headed. This overview provides highlights from our analysis of the 2020 digital and print promotions landscape. Within this analysis, year end 2020 print data includes Free Standing Inserts (FSI) while digital data includes Kantar’s full website footprint except

2020 highlights: The promotions landscape

Overall print promotion activity saw a decrease of -15.1% in 2020, while year-over-year digital activity decreased -8% for the first time as manufacturers and retailers reacted to COVID-19.

Despite a turbulent year, 181 billion print coupons distributed $427 billion in purchase incentives across 85 billion pages in 2020. Looking at digital promotions, there were 7.9 billion print coupons “clipped,” $15 billion in purchase incentives “clipped” and 1.3 billion coupon pages viewed.

While many of the top 100 manufacturers (as measured in branded ad spend, FSI coupons dropped and digital coupons “clipped”) decreased activity, Kantar data show they were more likely to increase promotion activity than ad spend. This was particularly true within digital, 87 of the top 100 manufacturers increased digital rebate activity. Indeed, 50 of those more than doubled their digital rebate activity in 2020.

2020 by the numbers

  • Incentives: Face Values were on the rise in both print and digital in 2020. Overall print Weighted Average Face Value (WAFV) increased +$0.20 from $2.16 to $2.36, while overall digital incentives increased +$0.21 from $1.69 to $1.90.
  • Digital properties: 77.9% of all digital coupons “clipped” in 2020 were captured on retailer properties and 94.7% of digital events were categorized as regional.
  • Web traffic rank: was the top website for coupons, leading by a large margin and averaging 3.3 million unique visitors per month, followed by (1.2 million unique visitors per month and 0.5 million unique visitors per month).
  • Seasonality: In response to the pandemic, we saw a slow and steady response in print while digital was both quick to decline and quick to recover. On aggregate the months with the highest activity were August and October, while the lowest volume months were April and December.
  • New products: 2,388 new products were captured in 2020 with 91% first seen in digital. The number of new products in digital rebates increased 34% to 509 new products.
  • Digital rebates: In 2020, digital rebates accounted for nearly 1.3 billion coupons “clipped” (+34% YoY) and were responsible for 16% of all digital coupons “clipped.” Overall WAFVs in digital rebates increased $0.90 YoY to $3.15, driven by non-food.
  • Unique offer types: Kantar continues to track unique offer types in digital, including BOGO, free product and percent off coupons as well as feature price offers that appear on retailer websites and feature a sale or discounted price point rather than a redeemable coupon.
  • Creative messaging: In 2020, Kantar noted continuing trends including QR codes and social responsibility messaging in FSI creatives. We also saw CPG brands respond to the pandemic, highlighting charitable donations and effectiveness against COVID-19.

Implications for CPG advertisers

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted key CPG promotion strategies that are likely to endure in 2021. 

In print, scale events showcasing the full brand profile continued at the same level as previous years. And in digital, we saw flexibility and a readiness to bounce back – particularly with the growth seen this year in digital rebates.

We saw incentives increase across the board for the fourth year in a row – as print and digital promotions increase in value, targeting shoppers with the best offer in their category is sure to remain a top priority for CPGs in 2021.

Kantar noted key creative messaging trends that continued into 2020 – CPGs focused their marketing messages in the FSI, responding to the pandemic, focusing in on urgent social causes and engaging consumers with QR codes. We expect this advertising sensibility to remain strong in 2021. 

The complete “Integrated Print & Digital Promotion: 2020 Trends & Insights” report includes additional details and insights across multiple topics, including:

  • Dig into details with class, area and product type-level data
  • Take a closer look at seasonality in food and non-food
  • Learn more about new products appearing in print and digital promotion
  • Check out how digital rebates are growing despite the pandemic
  • Explore unique digital offer types tracked by Kantar
  • See how CPGs are utilizing FSI creatives to engage shoppers

Fill out the form on this page to download your copy, or contact to learn how these industry trends affect your category and how key competitors use promotion to support their brands.


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