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Groupon volume jumps 500pc over holiday weekend

Groupon sold over 650,000 Grouponicus deals between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a 500 percent jump from last year.

Not a lot has been heard from Groupon lately as the company was in a quiet period for its initial public offering, which took place last month. Now that the quiet period is over, the latest news from Groupon about deal volume may help dispel speculation that the company?s sales as well as daily deals in general are faltering.

?Groupon has executed really well on the holiday promotion,? said Peter Krasilovsky, vice president at local media research firm BIA/Kelsey, Chantilly, VA. ?The whole 40 city Grouponicus effort is really compelling.

?It also reflects a nice mix of national brands and local merchants,? he said. ?We?ll see Groupon leveraging its list of millions of local consumers with more and more national brands targeting them.

?The question for Groupon is whether it can keep it up all year. It needs to keep people motivated and interested enough to open the emails.?

Mobile kicks into gear
Grouponicus is holiday promotion providing a collection of product and holiday deals intended to make good gifts. The deals, some of which are locally targeted, are available on the Groupon site and via email.

The company?s IPO last month raised a better-than-expected $700 million, reflecting the growing interest in social media enhanced mobile applications.

Despite the strong results, there have been rumblings that the daily deals space in general has hit a wall, with the number of deals services continuing to grow even as retailers remain unconvinced that the deals offer any long-term value. 

Groupon also faces growing competition from Google, which has a growing daily deals business as well as others such as Living Social. However, other daily deals offerings are being scaled back, which Yelp did has done, or shutdown, as Facebook did with its deals service.

For all of these companies, mobile plays a large role in how daily deals are accessed, with many consumers accessing deal sites and emails via their mobile devices.

Groupon stepped up its mobile play with the addition earlier this year of Groupon Now!, which provides local instant deals that can be used immediately and is geared for mobile shoppers.

?Mobile is increasingly important as a platform for Groupon,? Mr. Krasilovsky said. ?A lot of people have downloaded the apps on various platforms, but these don?t really provide such unique  value.

?When it comes to mobile, all eyes remain on Groupon?s Instant Deals, the program that lets consumers pre purchase discounted meals and other offers,? he said. ?They report it only made $1 million in its first few months, but now we?ll see if it really kicks in gear.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York