There is a great deal of speculation over where the daily deals industry is headed in 2012. Groupon’s IPO and Living Social’s recent fundraising activity have renewed talk of a bubble. Niche start-ups are entering the space on a daily basis, while longer standing competitors are dropping out of the race with increasing frequency.
In the UK an estimated 7 million people subscribe to daily deal websites. What will these consumers expect to see over the coming 12 months, and what opportunities exist to see additional growth?
As the UK’s largest aggregator of daily deals, Buyometric has a unique overview of the whole industry. We aggregate deals from most of the key UK players – from market leaders to tiny regional start-ups.
Overall, we expect further growth in consumers’ use of daily deal sites. The pressure on household budgets will increase through out 2012, with rising unemployment and the fact that pay rises almost certainly won’t keep up with the rising cost of living. Daily deals will benefit from an overall increase in the usage of money saving websites.
A key growth strategy for the largest daily deal providers will be a continued expansion in their areas of coverage, and increasing the number of deals available across the categories. Groupon remain, by far, the largest provider in the UK with twice the geographic coverage of any other player. Where they have trail blazed, others will follow. Large areas of the UK remain un-served by any local deal providers at all.
While the larger players with access to sufficient funding and marketing muscle will continue to expand, we expect some fall-out as smaller non-specialist daily deal websites drop out of the race or are swallowed up by the larger providers. Some daily deal sites have business models that are not economic. For instance Crowdity, Keynoir and Kelkoo Select have left the race recently (acquired by Wowcher and Time Out respectively) and we expect more buy-outs to follow as the larger sites look to grow their user bases in a cost effective way. Wowcher, Time Out and Money Supermarket will be the main beneficiaries of this consolidation and are rising stars to watch in 2012.
One area where we expect to see growth in 2012 is men’s deals. In recent research conducted by Buyometric, we found that women were on average over 40% more likely than men to be subscribers to the three leading daily deal sites – Groupon, Living Social and KGB Deals. Men are turned off by the untargeted nature of the main deal providers and so new male focused offerings, or better targeting by existing providers will be necessary to engage this group.
Ultra specific daily deal sites will continue to spring up in 2012, often being tied to an existing community website. Look for hobby niches such as golf (e.g. Daily Golf Deal), attitude niches such as environmental, or demographic niches such as mother & baby. However, unless they have a solid marketing plan or access to a large number of users, they will struggle to reach profitability. Sites with a small userbase will find it difficult to negotiate the commissions needed and sell in sufficient quantities to pay for sales staff. Without the sales staff, they won’t be able to negotiate enough deals to keep users making purchases. It’s a vicious circle.
We expect the continued growth of the aggregator in 2012 as users of daily deal sites get bored of receiving several emails a day and look at ways of consolidating the information about deals into one place. Our research1 found that over 50% of subscribers to daily deal providers receive 5 or more deal emails every day, and two thirds (67%) say that they do not always read them. The aggregator market will intensify, with an increasing number of intelligent “targeted” services replacing the current simple listing solutions. Expect to see larger international aggregators extending their reach into the UK, and vice versa.
The main daily deal sites will also start to offer some limited attempts at personalization, however it will still be in their interests to present their users with as many deals as possible, on the off-chance that they will be interested.
Even if the overall number of UK subscribers does not grow, sales growth of at least 20-30% can be expected just from existing users, since there are many sitting on the sidelines without having made a purchase yet, who can be expected to get involved in 2012. Our research in November and December 2011 identified that whilst only 69% of subscribers to daily deal websites had already bought a deal, 96% said they planned to make a purchase in the next 12 months. Much of this growth should come from men, who have not been best served by daily deal sites to date.
Our final prediction is that as a consumer, you’ll find yourself presented with daily deal buying opportunities in a lot more of your favourite places in 2012. Even if you didn’t think this was possible, you’ll soon see your own favourite websites such as local discussion groups and special interest sites re-packaging relevant deals from multiple suppliers in order to monetise their traffic. White-labelling of daily deals will become the trend of 2012.