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.

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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.

The word is of French origin, pronounced [kupɔ̃]. In Britain, the United States, and Canada it is pronounced /ˈkuːpɒn/ KOO-pon. A common alternate American pronunciation is /ˈkjuːpɒn/ KEW-pon.

Coca-Cola's 1888-issued "free glass of" is the earliest documented coupon. Coupons were mailed to potential customers and placed in magazines. It is estimated that between 1894 and 1913 one in nine Americans had received a free Coca-Cola, for a total of 8,500,000 free drinks. By 1895 Coke was served in every state in the United States. In 1929 Betty Crocker began a loyalty points program and began issuing coupons that could be used to redeem for premiums like free flatware. In 1937 the coupons were printed on the outside of packages. The loyalty program ended in 2006, one of the longest loyalty programs. In Australia consumers first came in contact with couponing when a company called Shopa Docket promoted offers and discounts on the back of shopping receipts in 1986.

Coupons offer different types of values, such as discounts, free shipping, buy-one get-one, trade-in for redemption, first-time customer coupons, free trial offer, launch offers, festival offers, and free giveaways. Similarly, there are varied uses of coupons which include: to incentivize a purchase, reduce a price, provide a free sample, or to aid marketers in understanding the demographics of their customer.

Coupon manufacturers may or may not place restrictions on coupons limiting their transferability to ensure the coupons stay within the targeted market. Since such restrictions are not universal and are difficult and/or costly to enforce, limited coupon trading is tolerated in the industry. Organized coupon exchange clubs are commonly found in regions where coupons are distributed. Often coupons are available for purchase at some online sites, but since most coupons are not allowed to be sold, the fee is considered to be for the time and effort put into cutting out the coupons. Some types of coupons may be sold. The New York Times not only said "the traffic is legal" regarding selling airline discount coupons, but wrote "check the commercial notices column in The New York Times or the classified advertising section under 'Miscellaneous') in The Wall Street Journal. During war time or economic hardships, trading or selling ration coupons is an economic crime.

Paul Brooks Misc