A customer at a Groupon Singapore concept store. Photo: Groupon
In Asia, the daily deals industry is apparently in the doldrums. In an analysis done by Groupon Singapore, only 19 group buying companies now remain, down from a peak of 72 in 2010 and 39 in 2011. 84% of these companies lasted less than a year.
SGE has even covered the demise of a couple of these websites: Outlet.com.sg and Mocca Perks.
The downward spiral in Singapore dovetails with the predominant trend in Asia and the world: Group buying sites are shutting down en masse. In the second half of 2011 alone, Daily Deals Media reported that 1,348 such companies have gone under. While some group buying sites have been acquired, they are in the minority.
Groupon’s share price, meanwhile, has tumbled to USD 5.25 per share on 6 October from a high of USD 31, despite a profitable quarter. Another American daily deals company, JigoCity (acquired by the owner of porn magazine Penthouse), is also finding the waters choppy in Asia: It recently left Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Australia.
But just like how the movie Rocky Balboa became a surprise hit in the face of doubts in 2006 — 16 years after the disappointing last film — Asia’s daily deals sites are reinventing themselves to stay in the fight. Read more
Once the hottest ticket in the startup scene, group buying has cooled. Following a wave of consolidations in the industry, less-able competitors are shutting down in droves, with Asia being the hardest hit.
Outlet.com.sg, which was the fifth largest daily deals site in Singapore, has also joined the list of has-beens. Volotek, the company behind the website, has put up a notice stating that the firm would be liquidated. Read more
Groupon has today announced the official launch of the world’s first and only Groupon Shop, which will happen on 4th July.
The store had actually opened its doors on 30th April, according to ZDNet. It consists of three terminals where visitors can buy and redeem coupons on-the-spot.
Karl Chong, CEO of Groupon Singapore, told ZDNet that the objective of the opening ”was to make it more convenient for Groupon customers to redeem their products.” Read more
Before Perx co-founders Andrew Roth and Jon Sugihara started work on their loyalty card mobile app, which is now the market leader in Singapore, they ran successful daily deals site PLAYhawaii.com. It was on track to generate US$2M in revenue a year.
Based in Hawaii, they expanded their business to Asia, founding Maiplay last year with Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin as an investor and advisor. They launched in Jakarta and Singapore, entering a heated field dominated by Groupon.
However, they dumped their daily deals business within months. They sold PLAYhawaii.com and launched their loyalty card mobile app in October 2011. They’re now based in Singapore.
What sparked the change was their belief that daily deals is a lousy way to acquire loyal customers for merchants. The hunch paid off: At the time of the interview, Perx had close to 40,000 registered users, and about 400 merchants in Singapore, with 10 to 20 new locations each week.
Their partner merchants are not lightweights either. Big brands like Popeyes, Famous Amos, and Dunkin Donuts have come on board. With pole position in the country secured (around!, Pointpal, and Squiryl are competitors), they are now working with a partner to scale their business to other parts of Asia.
“When we call merchants, we really had to tell them not to hang up as we’re not a daily deals company.”
Facebook has launched a feature that allows users to get special deals from merchants within the social network.
The deals will appear on their news feeds, and after claiming a deal, an email will be sent to the user. The deal can then be redeemed by flashing the email at a store.
Facebook Offers is currently in beta and is being rolled out to selected businesses in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, US, and Turkey, according to The Verge. Read more
JigoCity, a daily deals site owned by Penthouse publisher FriendFinder Networks (yes, that FriendFinder), has announced that it will not offer deals anymore in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Australia.
Notices were put up on the various country sites yesterday stating how JigoCity is “consolidating operations” and will only remain operational in “select countries”. They appear to be doubling down on Taiwan and the rest of China. Read more
If a daily deals devotee wants to propose to his lover, there’s only one way he can do it — by cutting her a wedding deal. Yep, Singaporean Dexter Ng, a “long-time Deal.com.sg fan”, recently proposed to his girlfriend of two years, Sharmane Ten on the site.
The exclusive deal for Shermane includes lifelong warranty for household chores, food delivery, random kisses, and fathering children. Perks include everlasting and unconditional bliss, love handles on tummy as a safety feature, the stomping of cockroaches within a five metre radius, and many more. Read more
With more than 50 deals site across Asia Pacific working with them, All Deals Asia hopes that their app, which was launched last week for the iPhone, would be the preferred choice among daily deals fans.
I’m told by the company that it is the first deals aggregator app in Asia. Users can browse and compare deals on the app, instead of having to visit multiple sites. “We believe this will help customers save both time and money when searching for the best discounts,” said Goh Yiping, founder of Singapore-based All Deals Asia.
Now, even Penthouse wants to get into the pants of your favorite Groupon clone. FriendFinder Networks, which owns the famous adult magazine, is looking to buy up JigoCity owner BDM Global Ventures for US$65 million, reported Reuters on 12th September.
JigoCity, which was started in America, operates in 20 countries worldwide, including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and many parts of Asia. While its presence in the Singapore market is small, it claims to have a worldwide revenue of US$600,000 in July and US$1.1 mil in August. The site’s net income is unknown. Read more
After Thai daily deals site Dealicious.co received an investment from Sparx Ventures, I said that I won’t be surprised if a similar deal happens before the year ends. That was last week.
Now, Singapore-based AllDealsAsia.com pulled a stunner by announcing that Iconic Ventures has invested an undisclosed sum in the company. Iconic Ventures is an investment holding company and angel investor that funds promising startups in Singapore and the region. They focus mostly on technology and Internet businesses. Read more