Online searches that included the word "coupons" rose 161 percent in December over December 2007, ComScore reported.
Similarly, searches with the word "discount" rose 26 percent in the same period, USA Today reported Tuesday.
On the Internet, ad prices rise depending on the value of the search words, as companies vie for searches to select and display their advertisements.
Prices range from 4 cents to $1 for each click that draws up an add, the newspaper said.
"Search is very much a barometer of the times," Google director of industry development John Burke said.
But, if "search" is the buzzword among advertisers, "coupons" is the word of choice for retailers these days. Coupons distribution rose 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter and redemptions rose 15 percent compared the fourth quarter of 2007, the Promotion Marketing Association said.
"That's when consumers suddenly starting saying this is for real and marketers said we need to react with more coupons to keep our sales up," said Charles Brown, co-chair of PMA's coupon council.