12/09/2011 04:57 pm ET

Cutting Coupons Most Popular Among Wealthy White Women

Tough economic times and the proliferation of coupon sites like Groupon and LivingSocial has made coupon use increasingly popular, but one demographic has more of an affinity for coupon deals than others.

Affluent white women are most likely to use six or more coupons in a single shopping outing compared to other groups, according to a recent study from the University of Arizona's Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences (h/t MSNBC). Seventy-eight percent of frequent coupon-users, called "coupon divas" in the study, were white, and 51 percent of them were women. Twenty-four percent of "coupon divas" reported annual household incomes of at least $75,000.

Anita Bhappu, the lead researcher of the study, said the results were unexpected because many assume that coupon users tend to come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and be women of color. In fact, the study finds those assumptions to be incorrect. Only 16 percent of the "coupon divas" were either African-American or Asian-American and 61 percent of non-coupon users in the survey make less than $35,000 a year. Furthermore, the survey found that nearly half of the "coupon divas" are men.

The popularity of coupon use became especially apparent last month when the online coupon site Groupon went public, exceeding its expected range of $20 per share in the most successful tech company IPO since Google. After dipping last month to a stock price of $14.85, investors are again trading Groupon shares valued at more than $20.

Across the country, coupon use has gone mainstream. The almost obsessive pursuit of savings has even inspired a reality television series called Extreme Couponing on TLC. The practice that one teen boy on the show calls a hobby-turned-obsession has led people to fanatically overstock their pantries with discount goods, while scouring dumpsters for even more coupons.

A recent spike in newspaper thefts is even being blamed on "extreme couponing," Poynter reports.