In Consumer Rebate Programs

The new year is a great time for reflection. How have your marketing efforts changed in the past year? In what areas do you feel like you have an opportunity to improve? Have you considered implementing a rebate program?

A rebate is an amount paid by way of reduction, return, or refund on what has already been paid or contributed. It is a type of sales promotion that marketers use primarily as incentives or supplements to product sales–and a great way to get your products off the shelves.

Interestingly enough, rebates have been around since the 1800s when railroads would give price reductions to certain guests. (It has since become much more sophisticated.)

In U.S. history, the rebates received by the Standard Oil Company were a major factor in that company’s attainment of a monopolistic position in the oil industry.

But that’s just the beginning.. We dare you to read through these seven rebate statistics and not want to implement rebates into your marketing mix!

Recent Rebate Statistics That Marketing Professionals Should Know

1. Rebates make consumers 75.4% more likely to make a purchase.

Data from the Promotion Marketing Association shows that consumers today are 75.4 percent more likely to buy your product when there is a rebate present. Consequently, this is why manufacturers continue to use rebates as a promotional tool to get their products off shelves faster.

The Impact Of Cash Rebates On Likelihood To Purchase

75.4% More Likely To Buy
15.4% No Effect
9.1% Less Likely To Buy

For relative comparison, promotions such as contests only increase the likelihood to buy by 42.5 percent and sweepstakes only by 39 percent. Rebates, where a consumer gets a free gift with purchase, have shown to increase their purchase likelihood by 82.8 percent!

Likelihood to Purchase by Promotion Type

Type of Promotion More likely to buy
Coupon for free products 98%
Money-off coupons 92%
Free gift with purchase 82.8%
Free sample 79.4%
Cash rebates 75.4%
Contests 42.5%
Sweepstakes 39.0%


Perceptions of Consumers about Promotions and the Economy

2. Over half of internet users between 18 and 29 years old said discounts and coupons had a high impact on overall digital purchasing decisions.

Importance of discounts and coupons to the overall digital purchasing decisions according to internet users in the United States as of March 2018, by age group:

the importance of discounts and coupons stats

Additionally, another misconception is that young consumers aren’t responsive to rebate programs. The chart above shows the importance of discounts and coupons to the overall digital purchasing decisions according to internet in the United States, sorted by age.

According to the March 2018 findings, 53.8 percent of internet users ranging between the ages of 18 to 29 years stated that discounts and coupons were a very important feature in the overall digital purchasing decision. This is often the age of many influencers companies are targeting.

In comparison, only 34.3 percent of users aged 60 years and above stated the same.

Source: Statista

3.  Over $500 Million in rebates go unfulfilled each year.

Rest assured it is highly unlikely for a rebate participation rate to ever hit 100 percent.

Consumer Affairs estimates that rates generally range from 5 percent to 80 percent, depending on the value of the rebate. This can be attributed to a number of reasons.

A study by Leflein Associates determined that out of the 1,001 people polled, almost half didn’t take advantage of rebates because:

  • 41% of the people who missed out admitted that they just flat out forgot about their rebates, so they never sent them in.
  • 25% lost one of the required bits of paper.
  • 20% thought they weren’t ultimately worth the effort.
  • 14% thought that the process was too complicated, and apparently gave up.


4. Of the top factors that influence internet users in the United States when deciding where to shop online – rebates came in third!

Factors that influence internet users in the United States when deciding where to shop online as of October 2017:

factors that influence internet users in the US when deciding where to shop online as of October 2017 stats

The chart above presents the factors that influence internet users in the United States when deciding where to shop online as of October 2017.

According to the findings, the primary factor that had influenced the third highest number of internet users when deciding where to shop online, was the presence of discounts, coupons, or rebates.

Does your business strategy include promotion of your rebate online? Maybe that is something to consider.

SOURCE: Statista

5. 47% of consumers predicted they would use their mobile devices to search for rebates for shopping during this holiday season.

In which of the following ways, if any, do you plan to use your mobile device(s) to do your shopping this Holiday Season?

plan to use mobile device to do shopping this holiday season stats

The chart above documents the responses of consumers who were asked: “In which of the following ways, if any, do you plan to use your mobile device to do your shopping this holiday season?”

Almost half (47 percent) said they use it to search for coupons/rebates! So if your rebate isn’t promoted, think of all the potential traffic your company is missing out on. Time and time again, consumers are telling us that they actively seek rebates and coupons. It’s important to make sure you show them you are listening.

Source: Statista

6. Consumer reports over the course of a year, 70 percent of consumers had taken advantage of manufacturer rebates on products.

In one year, 70 percent of consumers had taken advantage of manufacturing rebates. This goes to show the continued impact of rebate marketing in the B2C market.

This statistic is a great reminder that when planning your rebate program, you need to plan for high redemption and understand the factors that influence the participation of your consumer base.

Participation is not a bad thing. Yes, it costs your company money, but the loyalty gained from your consumer base and the positive reputation gain is ultimately what will increase your sales in the long run.


7. estimates that rebate redemption rates range from 10 to 30 percent when payoff is $10 to $30.

Note: For all purposes ‘redemption’ is defined as: the participation of a recipient who is accepting an award (cashing a check, spending funds, receiving their free product, etc.) as advertised in the rebate offer.

One of the key factors that is important to look at when analyzing your rebate impact and redemption is the value add of the rebate–especially with a cash back rebate.

For instance, reported that when looking at information on dozens of rebates offered by companies including Apply, Sony, HP and Panasonic, the redemption rate was higher (10-30 percent) when the payoff was between $10 and $30. The rate fell far below 10 percent for smaller dollar amounts!

A rebate fulfillment company cannot tell you what the value of your product deserves nor what your company can handle monetarily–only you can. But the right setup can ensure that your dollars are spent on a rebate that is ready to handle the range of consumers who do take advantage of your rebate.


What do the numbers mean?

The takeaway from all these statistics is simply that rebates are here to stay. Consumers respond to their intentions of motivating to purchase and actively seek rebates out when they are shopping.

Want more research-backed numbers? We understand it’s important to get all the facts before starting any new or revised marketing strategy.

Check out our free eBook: Incentives by the Numbers to learn (in more depth) how rebates can effectively impact your business’s bottom line.

And if you have any questions or are interested in reaching out to our team, fill out the form below.


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