Between December 2010 and December 2011, searches for “coupon” and “coupons” (broad matched) ballooned to over 63 million for a year-over-year increase of 37%.

Many retailers understandably cringe knowing that these last-minute coupon scoopers could be unnecessarily driving down the price of their goods among consumers who will actually pay full price. But the other side of the argument is that offering coupons and discounts might be the price of admission these days, a necessary marketing expenditure to reach consumers who are increasingly looking for confirmation of value before making a purchase.