The terrible numbers that Groupon doesn’t want you to focus on

Note: If you have Groupon or other daily deal experiences to share, please email dailydeals@agrawals.org.

Even in its revised S-1 issued last week, Andrew Mason’s letter directs potential shareholders to three key metrics: gross profit, free cash flow, and the much laughed at adjusted CSOI. (The fact that they still mention this dog should tell you tell something.) Two of these three metrics are, in a word, crap. They paint an extremely optimistic view of the business.

Gross profit (what I consider revenue) is the only one that is a useful measure of the company’s fortunes. And the growth rate on that has plummeted.

Also read my editorial on how Groupon is trying to hide these numbers from investors.

Here are some numbers that Groupon doesn’t want to focus on.

Revenue and subscriber growth

  • The median number of Groupons sold to each Groupon customer (someone who has bought anything): 1.
  • The median number of Groupons sold to each person on Groupon’s mailing list: 0.
  • Sequential revenue* growth from Q4 2010 to Q1 2011: 76%.
  • Sequential revenue* growth from Q1 2011 to Q2 2011: 26% (a drop of 50 percentage points in one quarter).
  • Sequential growth in Groupons sold from Q4 2010 to Q1 2011: 73%.
  • Sequential growth in Groupons sold from Q1 2011 to Q2 2011: 16% (a drop of 57 percentage points in one quarter).
  • Sequential growth in featured merchants Q4 2010 to Q1 2011: 62%.
  • Sequential growth in featured merchants from Q1 2011 to Q2 2011: 38% (a drop of 24 percentage points in one quarter).

Revenue share to Groupon

  • Average revenue share to Groupon (what Groupon calls “gross margin”) in Q1 2011: 42%.
  • Average revenue share to Groupon (what Groupon calls “gross margin”) in Q2 2011: 39%.
  • Revenue share that American Express is expected to take in its Facebook deal: 3-4%.
  • Reasonable expectation for Groupon’s revenue share in the long term: 10-20%.

Subscribers and acquisition cost

  • Percentage of mailing list who has purchased even one Groupon: 20%.
  • Cost per new list subscriber: $5.37.
  • Cost per new customer: $24.08.
  • Real revenue per subscriber: $3.43.
  • Real revenue per customer: $17.55 (less than acquisition cost — keep in mind most people buy only 1).
  • Real revenue per Groupon sold: $10.49 (less than acquisition cost).
  • Amount spent on marketing, full year 2010: $241.5 million.
  • Amount spent on marketing, first half of 2011: $345.1 million.

Merchant liabilities

  • Amount owed to merchants Q1 2011: $290.7 million.
  • Amount owed to merchants Q2 2011: $391.9 million (a 35% increase).

Sales effectiveness

  • Average sales per sales rep, Q1 2011: $172,000.
  • Average sales per sales rep, Q2 2011: $138,000.

Staffing

  • Ratio of Groupon employees to Facebook employees: approximately 3:1.
  • Ratio of Groupon editorial employees to Groupon technical employees: approximately 3:1.
  • Growth in headcount from Q1 to Q2: 35%.
  • Growth in sales headcount from Q1 to Q2: 37%.
  • Growth in editorial headcount from Q1 to Q2: 27%.
  • Growth in technology headcount from Q1 to Q2: 50%.
  • Percentage of Groupon employees employed in technology: 4%.

Misc.

  • # of purported class actions against Groupon: 16 (up from 15 in 1Q).

* This is based on net revenue, what Groupon calls “gross profit”.

Also see these stories about how soon Groupon could collapse (not written by me):

About these ads

About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is an analyst focused on the intersection of local, social and mobile. He is a principal analyst at reDesign mobile. Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He blogs at http://blog.agrawals.org and tweets at @rakeshlobster.
This entry was posted in groupon. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to The terrible numbers that Groupon doesn’t want you to focus on

  1. Pingback: Roundup of my Groupon and daily deals coverage « reDesign

  2. Jim says:

    Thanks for a fascinating post, Rakesh. A quick question: you noted that AmEx is rumored to be taking a 3-4% fee in its deal with Facebook. That sounds in the ballpark of the regular fee they charge merchants for accepting their cards. I’m curious if you’ve heard what rev share Facebook is expected to take in that deal. That might be more comparable to Groupon. Which you alluded to in a way when saying that rev shares would trend down to 10-20% (as opposed to 3-4%). Thanks again for a great post.

  3. John says:

    Are these numbers derived from their S-1?

  4. Yes, all of these numbers are either taken directly or calculated based on the information in the latest amendment to Groupon’s S-1.

  5. Pingback: Groupon Trouble « Coupon Bonanza!

  6. Lee says:

    over what period are the figures based on?

  7. Lee says:

    Ok lets make that post sound a little better. Over what period are you saying that 20% of GroupOn mailing list purchase a voucher?

  8. Pingback: An open letter to Andrew Mason: You’re wrong « reDesign

  9. Pingback: Quora

  10. Pingback: There are only two deal companies that matter: Facebook and Google « reDesign

  11. Pingback: Offermatic

  12. Pingback: Groupon deal performance: down and to the right « reDesign

  13. Pingback: The economics of LivingSocial/Whole Foods-like deals « reDesign

  14. Pingback: Portland News headlines for Sep 17 2011 : Travel tips, hotels, restaurants, jobs and news | Travel 2 Portland

  15. Pingback: Groupon’s cost of revenue is soaring « reDesign

  16. Pingback: El motor de tu modelo de negocio: Coste de adquisición y Valor del cliente | Estrategia, Startups y Modelos de negocio

  17. Pingback: Top sales talent leaving Groupon as its woes mount | VentureBeat

  18. Pingback: Top sales talent leaving Groupon as its woes mount | Share Blog

  19. Pingback: Groupon Is Losing Top Sales Talent (GRPN) | Don't Call Me Tony

  20. Pingback: Back online and “Groupon, told you so” « Brandr

  21. Sol says:

    Is there I site were I can see all the numbers like how Maney sales they did in the first month they opened groupon

  22. Rivka Krites says:

    Coffee tables that are made from solid hardword since they last longer and can resist high loads. ;.,.;

    Our favorite internet page
    http://www.prettygoddess.com

  23. Pingback: ¿Entiendes el motor de crecimiento de tu modelo de negocio? | Estrategia, Startups y Modelos de negocio

  24. Pingback: ¿Entiendes el motor de crecimiento de tu modelo de negocio? | La Factoría De Negocios

  25. jamessandberg1 says:

    I think everone knows now about Groupon being a flop of a business. It’s just too labur intensive to have healthy margins. I’m supprised that they have not made a biger focus on India, China and the BRICs.

Comments are closed.