How do bondholders get a return on zero coupon bonds?

Zero coupon bonds do not pay interest and are therefore sold at a steep discount to face value depending on the maturity date of the bond. Due to the time value of money, the discount on a 30 year zero coupon bond will be much greater than on a 10 year zero coupon bond.

At maturity bondholders will receive the full face value of the bond which provides bondholders a return. For example, a 30 year zero coupon bond with a face value of $1,000 and sold for $500 would return a $500 profit after 30 years.

Holders of zero coupon bonds can sell the bonds at any time before maturity. If an investor bought zero coupon bonds prior to a steep drop in interest rates, the value of the zero coupon bonds would increase and could be sold at a profit.
Zero coupon bonds do not pay interest and are therefore sold at a steep discount to face value depending on the maturity date of the bond. Due to the time value of money, the discount on a 30 year zero coupon bond will be much greater than on a 10 year zero coupon bond.

At maturity bondholders will receive the full face value of the bond which provides bondholders a return. For example, a 30 year zero coupon bond with a face value of $1,000 and sold for $500 would return a $500 profit after 30 years.

Holders of zero coupon bonds can sell the bonds at any time before maturity. If an investor bought zero coupon bonds prior to a steep drop in interest rates, the value of the zero coupon bonds would increase and could be sold at a profit.