Groupon-O-Rama: 10 Rising Trends in the Daily Deals Market

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In the last year, some 23 million Americans bought daily deals. That’s a lot of people. And because of all that money being spent, the daily deals market continues to attract new players, new innovations, and new ways to convince consumers they’re getting a deal.

Here, 10 noticeable trends:

Big-Time Players Selling Daily Deals
Facebook introduced its daily deal service recently, and Amazon and the Yellow Pages (AT&T) are joining hundreds of other players in the daily deal game as well. What’s truly amazing is that the daily deals concept barely existed two years ago, when I posted a Q&A with Andrew Mason, who had started up some site called Groupon.com.

Daily Deals for Concert Tickets
Ticketmaster announced the coming of a new “variable pricing” scheme, in which sometime in the future ticket prices for concerts and sporting events would rise or fall based on consumer demand. Those aren’t really daily deals, per se, so much as they are a more organized version of scalping. But now, as reported by TechCrunch and others, concert promoter Live Nation is teaming up with daily deal giant Groupon to sell discounted tickets for limited periods at a new venture called Groupon Live.

Daily Deals for a Seriously Limited Time Only
In a move that’s potentially much bigger than selling discounted concert tickets, Groupon is also introducing Groupon Now, a service that’ll tempt anyone who is hungry or bored with deals on restaurants and attractions in the immediate vicinity, and in the immediate near future (usually with a few hours). The latest, reported by CNN, is that Groupon Now will launch later this month in Chicago, where Groupon started. LivingSocial, Groupon’s biggest rival, has already given this sort of immediate, impulsive discounted service a shot with Instant Deals, in which $1 bought $20 of food at various Washington D.C. restaurants not long ago.

Daily Deals for People Willing to Spend Serious Money
LivingSocial sold $10,000 coupons (half off a $20K hotel suite package), while GiltCity has offered “deals” on $30K wedding packages and $10K private on-set tours of TV shows. A private jet company called JetSuite just announced it’ll be selling daily deal-style promotions on private flights for customers who check out its Facebook page.

Daily Deals for Stuff You Actually Need
In a recent survey, roughly half of people buying daily deals said their purchases were needs, and half said they were wants. Why don’t I buy that? Because there are people in this world who would say that flying by private jet is a need. Anyway, at long last a few grocery store coupon companies have joined the daily deal hysteria, and they’re offering flash coupons on things you actually need at the supermarket, including fabric softener, hot dogs, trash bags, and other staples. Not as sexy as a private jet, but a much more effective means of legitimately saving money.

Direct-from-Retailer Daily Deals
Why bother giving a piece of the action to a middleman deal site? Retailers like Target have their own daily deals, where a handful of items are steeply discounted for a brief period of time.

Daily Deals for Specialized Interests
Love wine? Take your pick of wine sellers with flash sales by the caseload. Got a pet? There are special offers just for you at BarkingDeals. Try ManDeals “for the stuff men want,” while Couptessa uses “the might of many women” to snag discounts on hair treatments and the like. JDeal is referred to as “Groupon for Jews,” and RapidBuyr is a Groupon for B2B transactions.

Daily Deal Sites to Help You Track Your Daily Deals
Lifesta, Yipit, and PriceGrabber are among the services aimed at helping you avoid an in-box clogged with dozens of daily deals. They round up all the daily deals in your neck of the woods and present them in one spot.

Ways to Resell All the Daily Deals You Don’t Want
The popularity of daily deals has inevitably led to a condition known as “Groupon remorse,” in which the initial excitement of scoring a deal is followed by a feeling wondering “Now why the hell did I buy that? Lucky for you, Lifesta, CoupRecoup, and other sites serve as marketplaces for consumers who have fallen out of love with their daily deals and want to resell them.

Gripes That Daily Deals Aren’t Great Deals
What with all the hullabaloo and hype over daily deals, the market is due for some skepticism. Have we reached the point of daily deal overkill, with consumers realizing these deals are just some silly coupons? Well, some people have come to realize this anyway. Many business owners have gone public with the fact that they lost money while trying out daily deals, and swear they’ll never do it again. A little while ago, the Times’ tech guru David Pogue pointed out the obvious: that saving $10 is not that big a deal, and a recent Daily Finance story gave voice to the rising sentiment that some daily deals aren’t really deals at all: “A seemingly good thing — the opportunity to save on purchases — can now lead to a huge waste of money.”

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