It wasn’t 2009. Not by a long shot.
Coupon usage rose sharply last year: There were 3.5 billion coupons redeemed in 2009, 700,000 more than the year before.
But, according to a NY Times’ story, the rise came after more than a decade when coupons were steadily on the decline.
The year with the most-ever coupons used—thus far, and probably forever, unless coupons really take off again—was 1992, when 7.9 billion were redeemed.
One quibble: These stats don’t seem to take into account digital coupons and online coupon codes you’ll find through services like Eversave and Cellfire or group discount sites like Groupon, where the deals often involve coupons. So it’s hard to tell exactly how likely (or unlikely) consumers are to be paying full retail price nowadays.