The rise of Groupon and social shopping

Will social shopping spell the end of discount voucher sites? asks Robin Goad, Research Director at analysts Experian Hitwise UK.

[...] The new emerging trend in the retail sector is for social shopping. I’ve mentioned in previous blogs how social media is being used by companies to engage with their customers and boost brand awareness. However, the growth of Groupon UK is the real indicator that social shopping is taking off.

Vouchers visits to Groupon and HotUKDeals.png

Since September 2010 visits to the Groupon UK website have increased by 540%. Last week Groupon UK was the 14th biggest website in our Shopping and Classifieds category, beating HotUKDeals for the first time and finishing ahead of big brand names such as Debenhams, B&Q and ASDA. Groupon UK is now the biggest website in the Rewards and Directory category, which represents remarkable growth for a website which has only been competing in the UK marketplace for one year.

While this doesn’t mark the demise of vouchers, Goad says social shopping is definitely in the ascendancy:

[...] overtaking cashback sites and rapidly catching on vouchers. Price comparison sites still account for over 50% of the market, but they have been squeezed by other players including the social sites.

Not yet familiar with the term ‘social shopping’? Wikipedia’s definition is simple:

Social Shopping is a method of e-commerce where shoppers’ friends become involved in the shopping experience. Social shopping attempts use technology to mimic the social interactions found in physical malls and stores.

The writing is on the wall.