If coupon clipping were an Olympic sport, Pittsburghers might be in line for a bronze.
The Steel City tied for third place with five other markets in which 36 percent of households use grocery coupons once a week or more, according to an analysis by media measurement firm Scarborough Research. Only Milwaukee, with its 40 percent showing, and Rochester, N.Y., at 38 percent, ranked higher.
Crowding onto the medal stand with Pittsburgh -- if ties were allowed in the Olympics -- would be Buffalo, N.Y.; Pennsylvania's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market; Connecticut's Hartford/New Haven area and two Ohio cities, Toledo and Columbus.
Meanwhile, only 14 percent of households in the Albuquerque/Sante Fe, N.M., area bothered to clip coupons on a regular basis, putting that area at the bottom of the survey.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the research found people in cities with lots of coupon clipping going on tended to have higher Sunday newspaper readership rates. Such publications are typically stuffed with coupons.
Still, online promotions have been gaining. Researchers found 11 percent of households getting coupons off the Internet, a significant increase over the past few years, although still lagging the more than 50 percent using newspapers.
Coupons of any sort seem to be finding their promotional value on the rise.
Just as the Olympics stirs up interest in sports such as beach volleyball and synchronized diving, the latest economic slowdown has stirred up renewed interest in tools to save money. A Nielsen Co. survey of more than 50,000 consumers in June found nearly one-third using more coupons to save, up from one-fourth in December.
Teresa F. Lindeman can be reached at email@example.com or at 412-263-2018.