Savvy consumers get their coupon on with Groupon. Tapping into the power of collective buying, the company helps businesses attract customers by offering them a unique way to save on things to eat, see, and do in almost 50 countries. In each participating city, Groupon advertises a daily deal, typically a half-off coupon for anything from a local restaurant or retail store to a hotel or spa; if enough consumers buy the coupon online by midnight, the deal is on and the featured business can achieve a nice chunk in sales. It also sells merchandise in rotating categories via Groupon Goods. In late 2010, the company rejected a reported $5.3 billion buyout offer from Google. Groupon went public instead in late 2011.
Geographically, the US is Groupon's largest market, followed by Canada and Europe. In fiscal 2014, the company earned more than 40% of its revenue outside of North America. The company distributes its deal offerings to customers primarily through its mobile platform, websites, and direct email.
Groupon claims more than 50 million active customers (those purchasing a Groupon within the past twelve months) worldwide and uses its website (searchable by locale) and opt-in e-mails to help businesses market their goods or services. The group buying model is a red-hot trend with smaller competitors and startups racing to gain some of the company's market share. The Groupon model was designed as a lower-risk alternative to traditional advertising. Whereas most marketing campaigns -- print ads, radio spots, and TV commercials -- require upfront payment, Groupon costs businesses nothing out-of-pocket. Once a daily deal reaches its buyer quota, also called a tipping point, Groupon takes a cut and the company takes the remainder.
Groupon serves a wide range of industries, including automotive, beauty and fitness, consumer goods, electronics, entertainment, fashion, home and garden, food and beverage, health, and travel. Businesses can sign on to be featured on Groupon through the GrouponWorks portal. A feature on the Groupon website can attract thousands of subscribers in each city, who then can share the offer through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to create even more buzz. Demographically, Groupon tends to attract younger, Internet friendly consumers. The majority of its subscribers are college educated and fall between the ages of 18 and 34.
Sales and Marketing
Groupon's online marketing consists of search engine marketing, television, billboard, and radio advertisements. The company also produces public relations and sponsored events to increase Groupon's visibility and brand recognition.
Groupon spent $269 million on marketing expenses during 2014 as compared to $214.8 million during 2013.
The company reported fiscal 2014 revenue of $3.19 billion, up 24% compared to fiscal 2013. The growth was driven primarily by an increase in active customers and the Groupon Goods program. Despite the spike in revenue, Groupon suffered a net loss of $73 million in fiscal 2014.
Groupon continues to invest in mobile technology. Its current mobile platform consists of apps and mobile websites that can be used via iPhones, iPads, Android, Blackberry, and Windows devices. The company is also working to globalize its business even more.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In fiscal 2015 Groupon acquired OrderUp, Inc. for about $69 million. OrderUp is an on-demand online and mobile food ordering and delivery. In fiscal 2014 Groupon acquired all of the outstanding equity interests of Ideeli, a fashion flash site based in the US.