A new study released by Juniper Research predicts that retailers will have issued almost three billion mobile coupons to customers by 2011, with just under $7 billion of discounts redeemed.
Juniper also predicts that mobile ticketing - where customers receive event tickets on their phones - will grow in popularity over the next few years, with 2.6 billion tickets worth $87 billion, delivered by 2011.
Growth in both areas will be driven by increasing use of near field communication (NFC) technology, says the report.
Customers signed up for mobile coupons are sent a unique barcode ID to their mobile phone. They then receive regular, personalised text messages offering discounts on certain items. To redeem coupons customers present their two dimensional barcode ID which is then scanned at the till using "charge coupled device" (CCD) imaging technology.
Juniper says the technology is cheaper for merchants than paper campaigns and provides a one-to-one marketing opportunity. In addition, mobile coupons have a higher conversion rate and reduce fraud, says the report.
But many retailers are reluctant to take up the technology, in part because of the need to move from laser scanners at the point of sale to optical readers that use CCD technology to read the barcodes.
Last year UK e-payments outfit PayPoint introduced a mobile-phone-based loyalty scheme allowing shoppers to receive money-off coupons via SMS text messages.
The Shop Scan Save service, which was developed by The Light Agency, has been used by retailers P&G, Nestle, Mars, Unilever and Red Bull.