The internet is full of adjacency; in the past five years only Twitter has felt like a disruptive innovation. Facebook is an evolution of a ten year old notion of social broadcast, even internet TV which is still struggling to gain momentum has been around the traps for a lifetime… Groupon is very new, and very disruptive.
The premise of Groupon is that small businesses offer deals to the Groupon audience, the businesses trade a substantial discount against a minimum number of of orders, the offer is “tipped” once enough Groupon members have signed up. The Groupon team get to decide which offer is published in each city as well as adding some colourful narrative to entice the purchasers.
Since launching Groupon has encountered many imitators, but their first mover advantage has meant grabbing scale across tens of US cities, immediate profitability (forecasting $100 EBIT by the end of the CY) and a resulting valuation or $1.2bn. Expect that number to grow as the launch cities grows. Can’t wait for it to hit Sydney.
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In the past month since posting this note I’ve become aware of a healthy stream of Group Buying sites, I’ve listed some below:
An article in Mumbrella suggested that the market opportunity for Group Buying had now been satisfied, I disagree.
In the US Groupon stole such a convincing march on its competitors that it grabbed a large chunk of market share and mindshare before a strong competitor emerged – no leader has emerged here in Australia. Given how fragmented the Group Buying market now is and how intense the competition is (read low margins) there is a real opportunity for a well backed leader to emerge in Oz, a space also exists for a Group Offers aggregation website supported by a large publisher.
It’s also only a matter of time before one of the existing large transactional audience businesses such as ebay or Facebook add Group Offers to their buying platforms (about time Facebook made good use of Facebook Marketplace!).
So good luck to the startups listed here – regardless of what happens next, the clock is ticking, I’d say you have 6 months.