In the daily coupon deal market, LivingSocial is to Groupon what Pepsi is to Coke, running in second place. That’s not to suggest Living Social is an also ran by any means. In fact, the company has sought to differentiate itself from Groupon in a number of ways:
- Reaching into smaller markets not served by Groupon;
- Emphasis on travel with its Escapes program;
- Similar emphasis on families with kid-friendly and parent-approved deals;
- Growth primarily in eastern US markets (Groupon tends to weigh more heavily in the West);
- Draws an older demographic that Groupon.
- LivingSocial users have a higher income than Groupon users.
The company’s mission statement provides ample evidence that LivingSocial views its approach to the market differently than Groupon and other competitors. Note the keywords, which I’ve highlighted in bold:
“Living Social offers daily deals on handpicked experiences that can be shared with friends. Our mission is to add surprise to every calendar. So we dig deep, pursuing both the things that define a place and the undiscovered jewels. We design total experiences that bring an adventurous, loyal new following to local businesses.”
Perhaps its redefining of the perspective on the daily deal – as that of providing a sense of adventure – that has made LivingSocial the fastest-growing company in the industry. That perspective certainly pervades its TV campaign.
In my opinion, there is a sense that LivingSocial deals carry more class than its rivals. It’s not merely about getting a good deal, but having a great experience, as well.
Like Groupon, LivingSocial tends to favor small business, including mom and pop outfits. However, that has not stopped the company from making forays into partnerships with big brands. Here are four examples:
- In January, 2011 LivingSocial and Amazon.com offered members a $20 Gift Card for $10. The voucher was available nationwide and attracted 1.4 million purchases.
- In March, the site offered two tickets to any movie on Fandango.com for $9. LivingSocial sold 1 million tickets in two days, 780,000 tickets on the first day alone.
- In September, LivingSocial offered $20 worth of goods at Whole Foods for $10. As many as 80 people bought the deal every second, making it the company’s fastest-selling coupon ever. The voucher was available for 24 hours and attracted a total of 1 million purchases.
- In October, Clear Channel Radio, the leading media company in America, announced an exclusive agreement naming LivingSocial as the sole daily deal provider on more than 500 Clear Channel radio stations in 90 cities nationwide.
LivingSocial by the Numbers
- LivingSocial has a user base of more than 85 million;
- It is represented in 603 markets across 25 countries;
- Over 22 million deal vouchers have been purchased to date;
- LivingSocial Families serve 174 markets worldwide;
- More than 500,000 room nights have been booked through LivingSocial Escapes.
LivingSocial offers several unique programs aside from its typical daily deals:
Escapes – With its acquisition of Urban Escapes in 2010, Escapes is one area where LivingSocial sought to differentiate itself from Groupon.
Families – Family deals are kid-tested and parent-approved.
Adventures – This is where LivingSocial really separates itself from other deal sites. The emphasis is not merely on providing good deals, but worthwhile, fun experiences.
Why Use LivingSocial
LivingSocial offers several advantages to competitors:
- Though running second to Groupon, its reach is still long, as evidenced by the above numbers.
- Where the US is concerned, LivingSocial has a stronger presence in eastern states, which may mean its a good fit for brands that serve similar markets.
- LivingSocial targets older consumers with higher incomes than does Groupon.
- The company places a decided emphasis on travel, which may bode well for hotel and resort chains.
The company has experienced six rounds of funding totaling more than $620 million. There has been talk of an IPO, but that has been delayed in favor of private funding. Investors include the likes of Steve Case, founder of Revolution Health, Grotech Ventures, US Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Amazon and T. Rowe Price.
Over the years LivingSocial has acquired a number of companies, including:
- BuyYourFriendADrink.com, 4/09
- Urban Escapes, 10/10
- InfoEther, 3/11
- SocialMedia.com, 4/11
- Ensogo, 6/11
- GoNabit, 6/11
- TicketMonster, 9/11
Company founders include:
- Tim O’Shaughnessy – CEO and Co-Founder
- Val Aleksenko – CIO and Co-founder
- Aaron Batalion – CTO and Co-Founder
- Eddie Frederick – President and Co-Founder
The company was founded in Washington D.C, but has offices in London, as well. Here is the contact information.
1445 New York Ave
NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
25 Wellington Street
London WC2E 7DA
General Inquiries: 888.808.6676 (US)