I have a confession to make. When I was 26, I was completely addicted to shopping at Express. The store, known for its attractive employees, $80 jeans and bar-ready attire can be in found in any mall in America.

I was lured into the shopping experience by the promise that I too could look like a hot model if only I had the right blouse, but I stayed because of the coupons.

You see, the secret to shopping at a store that charges $80 for jeans, is to never actually pay $80 for jeans. And Express is more than happy to constantly convince you that you’re getting an awesome deal every time you shop there.

But of course, because I’m a 20-something, I don’t go around clipping coupons from my Sunday newspaper (do those things even still exist?). And, to be honest, the ones Express sent me in the mail usually ended up in an early grave at the bottom of my purse.

However, there was one other way for me to constantly get excited about shopping at the store — e-mail coupons. And this is where Express truly shines, because the cashiers at the stores always were able to scan the coupon right off my cell phone screen; no dead trees required.

It was marvelous, even if I did usually leave only after spending at least $100. And it turned me on to the deal of the future — mobile coupons.

While mobile coupons may gain their initial following at clothing and electronic stores, I’m sure candy companies won’t be far behind. And, what a glorious day it will be when I can just pull up a Mars app or a Hershey app, tap “buy one candy bar, get one free” and show it to the cashier.

Of course, the glorious day for Mars, Hershey and candy companies in general is the day consumers are mulling over which treat to buy for the school Valentine’s Day party, and they pull out an coupon app that leads them to grab the pack of Fun Size Snickers.

And it doesn’t have to be just candy companies that target consumers with confectionery coupon apps. Visions of a Wal-Mart coupon app, a Target coupon app and even an app designed to only display candy coupons dance in my phone.

If you’re shaking your head at the thought of all this technology, don’t just take my word for it.

A new report from Juniper Research has found mobile coupon’s global redemption rate will average more than 8% by 2016 — an eightfold increase over the best paper coupon campaigns.

Specifically, the report predicts that by 2016, more than 600 million people will use mobile coupons on a regular basis worldwide. That translates to more than $43 billion in redemption values globally by 2016.

The trend stems from North American and Western European markets playing catchup to the Far East and China, which already have thriving mobile coupon marketing.

 As evidenced by my adventures at Express, the report found that “mobile coupons have compelling advantages over their paper and online antecedents and are particularly strategic for bricks and mortar retailers in their quest to regain ground lost to online retailers.” 

In fact, one of the greatest advantages of the mobile coupon is that it can be individually targeted to consumers based on social media data, past purchases and opt-in programs.

The report warns, however, that the rise in mobile coupon redemption rates will only come after an initial period of experimentation by both coupon issuers and users, during which redemption rates may actually decrease slightly. 

After this period, redemption rates will then start to rise steadily.

“As with all new mass markets there is an initial ‘shakeout’ period,” explains report author David Snow. “North America and Western Europe are at this stage now. For the next few years, users will be signing up to multiple coupon schemes and deciding on the ones they like best — so now is a crucial time for mobile marketing agencies to get it right on behalf of their clients and establish a loyal customer base. “

Welcome the ground floor of the next big thing people. Now is the time to develop a coupon app for your market, so that by the time consumers expect you to have one, it’ll already be perfect.