The HISTORY of Coupons – A little coupon nerdery

I don’t know why but the whole idea surrounding coupons has always fascinated me. Haven’t you ever wondered what the first coupons looked like, and maybe which company put the first one out?

I tried to look up some of this information and found a well written interesting document on wiki.

Did you know that the first coupon ever put out was by Coca Cola in the 1888. Bet you didn’t think that couponing started in the 19th century did ya?

The first coupon ever?

The first coupon ever?

The company distributed these “free product coupons” to customers so that they could sample the new fountain beverage known as “Coke”!

They were mailed to customers as well as placed in magazines!   It was estimated that between 1894 and 1913 1 in 9 Americans had received a free drink for a total of 8,500,000 free drinks.

Coupons became in common use when C. W. Post (of POST cereals) in 1909 began using coupons to advertise and market his cereals.


A timeline for the history of coupons:

  • 1888 – Asa Candler used paper tickets for free glasses of Coke to help market his new soda
  • 1909 – C.W. Post used 1 cent coupons to start marketing Grape Nuts breakfast
  • 1930 – Coupon usage grows dramatically during the great depression
  • 1940 – Big chain grocery stores begin to use coupons to attract consumers away from purchasing at local markets
  • 1957 – Nielsen Coupon Clearing House was created to be devoted entirely to coupon redemption
  • 1965 – Half of all the families in the United States begin cutting coupons
  • 1986 – Shop A Docket commenced in Australia, printing coupons on the back of shopping receipts
  • 1990 – The invention of the internet leads to the downloaded printable coupon and online coupons
  • 1992 – The last year coupon usage is on the rise for the next 17 years
  • 2002 – Americans saved US$3.8 billion shopping with coupons
  • 2009 – The U.S. government uses coupons to promote converter box sales for the digital television transition

    Just thought I’d pass along this interesting information from Wikipedia onto you regarding coupons!

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