It might be time for businesses on the fence about increased customer engagement to break the mould, as consumers are starting to redeem coupons in greater numbers.

In the past 12 months alone, Australian consumers purchased over 10 million group buying vouchers, according to research firm Telsyte. These types of vouchers are often found in coupon books bought online and through fundraising programs.

The research found Australians purchased 42 per cent more group buying vouchers in Q4 2013, compared to Q4 2012. This past quarter alone saw 3.7 million vouchers sold – a record number.

Websites are a key source of these voucher books or packs, as prices are usually cheaper. It’s likely businesses will need to step up investments in the voucher space, especially as the opportunities for raised consumer awareness are present.

“Group buying sites are meeting the changed market conditions by increasing the number of deals and making them last longer,” said senior research and consulting manager at Telsyte Sam Yip.

In addition, mobile deals will likely become the next avenue for deal-hunting consumers, due to the substantial rise in smartphone use over the past few years.

By offering coupons directly to mobile users via either email alerts, text messages or QR codes in a store, customer loyalty can be established. Continuing to offer deals helps to reinforce the relationship between a business and consumer – especially as differentiating becomes difficult.

“The revenue generated from local deals in 2013 shows that the industry has taken a step towards its ambition of being a key enabler of local commerce and local deals, this is a complete turn-around from 12 months ago where the industry was headed towards mainly selling goods on a national scale”, he said.

Moving into the coupon space may be a good move for businesses over the next few years, and help to establish stronger relationships.