The history of Groupon has been something of a roller coaster ride, as we will explore in more detail in this post. For buyers, the site has evolved to offer a different experience, and has carved out a niche as the biggest online deals site.
Below, we’ve included an infographic which provides some truly incredible statistics, giving an example of the sheer scale of the operation as they hit one billion group-buying deals.
Groupon grew at an incredible rate.
Groupon stemmed from an idea for a “tipping point” based fundraising platform called The Point, founded by Andrew Mason. The site would set a certain amount of money or signatures that they had to reach before donations were used, and the credit cards weren’t charged unless the goal was reached.
This is familiar to users, and it operates in a similar way to Groupon, and incidentally, some of the biggest crowdfunding sites out there now. The brand would need to pivot, and nobody could have predicted what would happen next...
The site has a fascinating history as it actually emerged "from the ashes” of this dead startup, The Point, and went on to grow at an unprecedented rate.
Of course, Groupon shifted to group-buying for experiences and then later to goods. They spread quickly out of the US and Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK all quickly had their own versions of the site.
The site quickly hit 50 million active users. While this figure is significantly lower, now, it remains the biggest online deals site, and presents an opportunity for buyers to grab some true bargains. There are still around 25 million users.
In 2009, Groupon had spread to 28 cities in the US. At the time, the focus was mainly on local deals.
A lot of services and experience-based businesses benefited from partnerships with Groupon in a simple business model. For instance, a massage parlor in the state of New York could decide that to boost their sales they were going to offer a promotion on Groupon. They would make a good chunk of revenue, and Groupon would also provide them with an opportunity to promote to a new set of customers.
Everything from cinema tickets to photography courses, and from meals out to airline tickets have been offered on Groupon. Deals are simple to redeem, and customers can save a good sum of money in the process.
The huge growth of the platform saw their email list grow to tens of millions of users, and in 2010, Google made an approach to buy Groupon for an eye-watering sum. $6 billion. Groupon rejected this approach and would continue to grow for some time after this.
In 2011, Groupon started to specialize and expand the deals it could offer. They launched specific channels advertising, such as GrouponLive for events, Groupon Getaways, and Groupon Goods. Goods is perhaps their biggest platform in 2021.
Groupon does not experience as many visitors as it once did, but remains incredibly successful. In 2020 the app was downloaded over 7.7 million times, and the platform still had over 25 million users. The company boasted revenues of 1.417 billion USD.
Instead of just the focus on connecting customers to local experiences and coupons, the site now has four different main sections for deals:
This means the offering for customers is huge. You can book your next holiday with Groupon, you can find a deal for something you want to buy, find gifts for others, or even find something in the local area that you can do with the family or as a couple.
Groupon deals were once daily, but now they have deals that can range in time, and be available for longer than just this 24 hour period.
The site sends out daily emails and it can be a great way to look for deals, but also to get them directly to your inbox. A number of impulse buys have been fueled by incredible deals from Groupon landing in your inbox or straight on the app.
So how did Groupon grow so incredibly quickly and become a household name all over the world?
Of course, the very clever concept, and timing, played a big part in the growth of Groupon, but some clever strategies were implemented to help turn this into a business that could reject $6 billion from Google.
Some of the strategies used to fuel the growth included:
Groupon exists in its own niche in the market and though the site doesn’t hit the headlines so much anymore, it certainly continues to turn huge profits and provide consumers with the opportunity to save a lot of money on both goods and experiences.
From massages to pizzas, and from concert tickets to wine, there are no limits to what you can find on Groupon at a cut price.