In marketing, a coupon is a ticket or document that can be redeemed for a financial discount or rebate when purchasing a product.
Customarily, coupons are issued by manufacturers of consumer packaged goods or by retailers, to be used in retail stores as a part of sales promotions. They are often widely distributed through mail, coupon envelopes, magazines, newspapers, the Internet (social media, email newsletter), directly from the retailer, and mobile devices such as cell phones.
The New York Times reported “more than 900 manufacturers’ coupons were distributed” per household, and that “the United States Department of Agriculture estimates that four families in five use coupons. “Only about 4 percent” of coupons received were redeemed. Coupons can be targeted selectively to regional markets in which price competition is great.
Most coupons have an expiration date, although American military commissaries overseas honor manufacturers’ coupons for up to six months past the expiration date.