Daily Deal Fatigue? Not So Fast!

Common assumptions about daily deal sites are turned over by research

by Jason Falls |

New research from Edison Research and Arbitron is out today on the daily deal world — Groupon, Living Social, TryItLocal and the like. Tom Webster is actually live casting the data this afternoon at 2:30 ET if you’d like to see it unveiled complete with explanations from the master himself.

Unlike infographics and “research” created for content purposes, Edison and Arbitron are actual market researchers and scientists that put their data through stringent checks and balances to ensure sampling is representative and biases are vetted. For research in the social media and digital marketing world, there are few as trustworthy as these guys.

Some of the research was rather surprising to me. Some nuggets:

  • 15 percent of Americans are signed up for a ‘daily deal’ site or service.
  • Of those signed up, 66 percent are women.
  • 49 percent of those signed up are between the ages of 25 and 44, an age group that only accounts for 31 percent of the U.S. population.
  • 45 percent of daily deals users are from the Southern U.S. That’s eight percent higher than what the South accounts for in U.S. population.
  • Groupon and LivingSocial dwarf competitors in terms of adoption.
  • 62 percent of daily deals users are using them as frequently or more frequently than when they started.
  • 53 percent of users say they tried a business or service for the first time because of the deal. Some 23 percent of users say they continued to visit the business after the initial trial.
  • Deals users are almost twice as likely to follow brands or companies on social media sites.

The rest of the charts and graphs didn’t surprise me much. They matched my assumptions. But all those nuggets aside, the one stat that I think makes this research both important to note, but also important to put in perspective is the first one I noted: 15 percent of Americans are signed up for a ‘daily deal’ site or service.

Certainly, 15 percent of Americans is a significant number of people. But for all the hype and craziness around Groupon, et. al., only 15 percent of people are using them? You can look at the rest of the numbers all you want, but not even two in 10 folks are using these sites.

One can look at the half-full perspective and say there’s tremendous up-side potential in this market. Or you can look at the fact all that hype, buzz, $6 billion “no thank you” to Google, IPO chatter and more, that’s all the deal sites can do?

As of 2009, according to Nielsen, 39 percent of U.S. households clipped coupons. At various points over the last two years you would have thought 99 percent of Americans were Grouponing it. But alas, it’s just 15 percent.

But then you have to look deeper, right? Some 53 percent of users say they tried a business or service for the first time because of the deal sites. Almost one-fourth of users say they’re going back to new businesses to them after the deal sites turned them on to them. And while almost everyone I’ve talked to about daily deal sites in the last year have said they feel like America is dealing with Daily Deal fatigue, 62 percent are using them as much or more than when they started.

The research thwarts some assumptions. It supports others. But the net here is that while adoption seems low to me, there’s no reason to think the daily deals are dwindling, becoming old hat or not effective for businesses to consider.

But that’s my take. What’s yours?


About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).