The Middle East is probably the most underrated growth market on the planet right now: Over 350M people with 70% under the age of 30. Groupon recently established an operation in the region but according to data for the last month they’re being crushed by Cobone.com, the local competitor. Can Groupon execute outside of their core territories?
The graphs below are based on data scraped from the Groupon and Cobone sites (UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt) between May 14th-June 14th.
At first glance, Cobone is really hammering Groupon just in terms of coupons sold by about two to one.
But taking a closer look at the deals themselves and you see where Cobone is really killing them. Over the same period, Cobone turned over almost three times Groupon’s revenue. Clearly Groupon are having trouble getting to the higher quality merchants in the region.
What’s particularly interesting is how the two companies are leveraging social media in the region. Although the overall user numbers for Facebook and Twitter in the Middle East are still low (but growing rapidly), clearly Cobone understands a) how to engage them and b) how to monetise them. Groupon, on the other hand, appear to be either ignoring social completely (which seems odd) or simply don’t have a handle on it in that particular market.
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