Last July we mentioned that the future of daily deal sites seemed at best uncertain. The business model of daily deal sites was, and somewhat still is, very unproven and shaky in many cases. Since the time of that posting the largest of the sites, Groupon, went public and fellow industry dominator, LivingSocial, scratched together $176 million in new financing with rumours of an IPO raging . You would think that would be a sign of great things to come for this industry, yet uncertainty lingers.
A report released by Daily Deal Media last week shows the level of volatility in the market. While some news outlets are calling for doom and gloom in the industry this seems more like a market correction. Overall, 798 sites worldwide either closed up shop or were consumed by a competitor. With such a young industry it would seem that this is expected. Consumers and the participating businesses haven’t developed any sort of loyalty to daily deal sites. Quite often you’ll see the same business offering the same or similar deal on multiple daily deal sites over the course of a few weeks or months. There is nothing stopping someone from jumping ship to the next deal site. If and when the market settles out we might see some changes here, but don’t expect anything soon.
One big industry concern is “deal fatigue”. At this point there doesn’t seem to be any scientifically accurate data on how many deals people purchase, how often, or how many sites are subscribed to so we’ll use some educated guesses and published survey results to look at deal fatigue. The Retail Email Blog estimates that consumers in the US are getting 3.9 emails per day from the top retailers, which doesn’t include daily deal emails. Of the total emails people are receiving daily, the people at Hotmail believe that 50% of them are deals and newsletters. So what’s the tipping point for consumers that makes them say “Enough already”? There probably isn’t anyone that can answer that question right now, but there are people trying to prevent that from happening.
Companies like Deal Radar, Yipit, and Frugalo are daily deal aggrigators. While each has their own approach to the situation, they all work towards clearing up the number of emails inboxes are receiving. They do this by either sending a daily digest of deals available in a consumer’s selected area or offering the option of using their app to discover deals and not receiving any emails at all.
While any stability in the industry seems a long way off one thing can be certain: consumers still want to save money through deals, just maybe not as many as originally hoped for.