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Sale vs. Discount: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 19, 2023
Sale refers to the act of selling goods or services, while a discount is a reduction in price offered on those goods or services.

Key Differences

A sale is a transaction where goods or services are exchanged for money. It involves the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. A discount, in contrast, is a reduction in the original price of a good or service. It's a marketing strategy used to attract customers or clear stock.
During a sale, various items are offered to customers, possibly at reduced prices. The focus is on the act of selling itself. Discounts, however, specifically imply a lowered price. They can be a percentage off the original price or a fixed amount reduced.
Sales are events or periods when goods are available for purchase, often highlighting a wide range of products. Discounts, on the other hand, can be offered within or outside of sales, providing a direct monetary benefit to the purchaser.
A sale can occur without any discounts being offered, simply as an opportunity for consumers to buy products. Meanwhile, discounts are often used as a tactic within a sale to enhance the appeal of the transaction by making it financially more attractive.
The term 'sale' encompasses the broader concept of commerce and trade, while 'discount' is more specific, always referring to a price reduction, making items more accessible or appealing to potential buyers.

Comparison Chart


The act of selling goods or services.
A reduction in the price of goods or services.


To transfer ownership and earn revenue.
To incentivize purchases or clear inventory.


Can be limited or ongoing.
Often time-bound or conditional.


May or may not involve price reductions.
Always involves lowering the original price.

Marketing Strategy

Broad strategy for promoting products/services.
Specific tactic within broader sales strategy.

Sale and Discount Definitions


A transaction of exchanging goods or services for money.
The store held a sale of its latest electronics.


A reduction in the usual price of something.
They offered a 10% discount on all shoes.


A period during which goods are sold at reduced prices.
They bought a new sofa during the holiday sale.


A financial deduction from the standard cost.
Customers with coupons received an additional discount.


The act of offering goods in exchange for payment.
The artist's sale of paintings increased this year.


An allowance or concession in price.
Members received a special discount on their purchases.


An event or occasion where items are sold.
The charity sale helped raise funds for the school.


A decrease in price as a promotional strategy.
The end-of-season discount attracted many buyers.


The process of persuading someone to buy something.
Her skills in sale were evident from her impressive sales record.


A markdown on the selling price.
The store provided a discount for bulk orders.


The exchange of goods or services for an amount of money or its equivalent; the act of selling
The sale of such a nice house should be easy.


To sell or offer for sale at a reduced price
Discounting all merchandise.


A selling of property to the highest bidder; an auction.


To reduce in quantity or value
Discount a price.


Are discounts only given during sales?

No, discounts can be offered independently of sales.

Do sales always mean lower prices?

Not necessarily; it's more about the act of selling than price.

What does discount mean?

A discount is a reduction in the regular price of a product or service.

Is a discount always a percentage?

No, it can be a fixed amount off or a percentage reduction.

Can a sale occur without discounts?

Yes, a sale can happen without offering discounts.

What is a clearance sale?

It's a sale to clear out inventory, typically offering significant discounts.

What's a flash sale?

A brief, time-limited sale often featuring substantial discounts.

What is a sale?

A sale is an event where goods or services are sold, often at reduced prices.

Can services be on sale?

Yes, services can also be offered at reduced rates or under special sale terms.

What is a seasonal sale?

A sale occurring during specific seasons, like summer or winter.

Can discounts be conditional?

Yes, discounts can be offered based on conditions like bulk buying or loyalty.

How do discounts affect consumer behavior?

They often encourage quicker and more frequent purchases.

Are discounts good for businesses?

Yes, if used strategically, they can boost sales and clear inventory.

Are online sales different from in-store sales?

They can be, especially in terms of reach and convenience.

What's an employee discount?

A special price reduction offered to a company's employees.

Can a sale be exclusive?

Yes, some sales are exclusive to members or specific customer groups.

Do all stores offer discounts?

Not necessarily, it depends on the store's pricing and marketing strategies.

What is a buy-one-get-one-free sale?

A promotional sale where buying one item gets another free, effectively a 50% discount.

Are discounts offered on all products in a sale?

Not always, it varies depending on the sale's terms.

Can discounts be negotiated?

In some sales settings, especially in traditional markets, discounts can be negotiated.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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