We’ve all been in checkout lines behind shoppers laying out a wad of coupons for special offers and discounted items. And while we wait, they’re the ones getting the deals and saving the money!

Coupons are a big deal, and not just in lean times. Ninety-four percent of shoppers are expected to use them this year, according to a Valassis 2018 Coupon Intelligence infographic. That’s up 4 percent from the previous year. For the same periods, paper coupon use is up 5 percent and paperless coupon use up 4 percent. Even millennials are in on the action: 50 percent report that they “always or very often” use coupons, an increase of 4 percent from 2016.

Coupons can also be good for the companies issuing them. “In today’s business climate, coupons and discounting have become a significant budget line item for companies,” writes Jeff Shavitz in an article for bizjournals.com on the psychology of the coupons. Coupons are necessary tools for coaxing first-time users away from familiar brands and shopping habits. But the trick, Shavitz notes, is offering enough incentive to turn first-timers into longtime consumers — while keeping an eye on the bottom line.

“Run the numbers,” he advises senior management. Looking beyond the initial buy, “What’s the acceptance cost of new customers?” he advises them to ask. “What are you willing to spend to begin a relationship with a customer?” For many companies, those are questions worth considering.