"When people become educated about the issues around the penny, such as new solutions to lower production costs and rounding at the cash register, they appear to be more inclined to keep the penny as evidenced by the 13 point increase over last year," said Alex Camara, senior vice president and general manager of Coinstar's worldwide coin business.
Penny support now extends beyond romantic notions about penny candy and penny loafers.
-- 31 percent support keeping the penny if alloys are changed to reduce rising production costs and 48 percent say leave the penny as is (79 percent support). Only 15 percent favor discontinuing use of the Lincoln cent.
-- 51 percent are concerned about price rounding to the nearest nickel if the penny disappears.
-- Almost two-thirds of Americans (63 percent) still feel the penny should be retained as an important symbol of American culture, history and the economy.
While support for the penny is stronger, there also is more evidence that its value as daily tender is fading. Sixty-nine percent of people will pick up pennies off the ground compared to 79 percent just a year ago.
The Coinstar study also revealed that -- if the penny does disappear -- more respondents would not change their payment behaviors to avoid "rounded up" pricing. Forty-six percent of respondents report they wouldn't change how they pay for things compared to 37 percent who would use debit/credit to avoid rounding up.
Coinstar estimates that about 11 percent of the $10.5 billion of coin out of circulation in the United States is pennies.
Other findings from the survey include:
-- 58 percent are not very concerned or not at all concerned that the penny costs more to produce than its value.
-- While support for picking pennies up off the ground is eroding, the practice varies widely by age group (60 percent ages 18 to 34 compared to 89 percent for seniors 65+).
-- 23 percent of people who pick up pennies still respect superstition (only pick up heads), and 27 percent of this group actually turn over a bad coin (tails) to benefit the next person.
About the Poll
In its ninth year, the Coinstar National Currency Poll was launched in April 1998 to provide information to better understand coin and currency habits in America, and track trends, behaviors and attitudes toward currency -- both traditional and new forms, as well as related topics. Poll results are compiled by an independent market research firm through a telephone research study. Each edition of the Coinstar National Currency Poll contains a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 Americans age 18+, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
About Coinstar, Inc.
Coinstar, Inc. (Nasdaq:CSTR) is a multi-national company offering a range of 4th Wall(TM) solutions for the retailers' front of store consisting of self-service coin counting, electronic payment solutions, entertainment services and self-service DVD rental. The company's products and services can be found at more than 60,000 retail locations including supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchants, convenience stores, and restaurants. For more information, visit www.coinstar.com.