The History of Coupons


Since 1894, when the concept was born, coupons have been part of the North American marketing world.

The history of coupons all started with a Coke and a smile

That year, Asa Candler, the druggist who bought the formula for Coca-Cola, gave out handwritten coupons for a free glass of this new fountain beverage. The next year, another businessman, C.W. Post, began to promote his new health cereal with a one-cent coupon, good towards the purchase of his new product, Grape Nuts.

Prompted by the Depression, coupons became a staple in American households by 1930. The need to cut costs, especially the weekly grocery bill, made clipping coupons necessary for many families. By the 1940s, chain supermarkets were growing across the country. To bolster their boom, they continued with the coupon tradition developed in the neighborhood food stores.

The history of coupons really ramped up in 1957 when the Nielsen Coupon Clearing House hit the scene. By 1965, one-half of all Americans were coupon users. Ten years later, over 35 billion coupons were distributed in the U.S.A.! By 1997, an astonishing 83% of all Americans used coupons. That year, according to statistics, consumers saved $2.9 billion by redeeming 4.8 billion coupons. In 1999, 81% of American households redeemed grocery coupons weekly, and more than $3.6 billion were redeemed over the course of the year.

Today, coupons continue to be an excellent marketing tool. So much so that businesses large and small print custom coupons to mail or hand out to customers! Customize any of our coupon templates to create coupons for your business, or you can even design your own with our easy-to-use online design tool!

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