According to China E-Business Research Center, an independent research institute, the transaction value of the group buying market in China reached 34.89 billion yuan (US$5.5 billion) in 2012. The group buying market researcher and daily deal aggregator Tuan800, made a slightly more modest estimate of 21.39 billion yuan (US$3.4 billion) in 2012. About 47 percent of transactions were made on the ten leading independent daily deals websites. Group buying sites that belong to larger e-commerce companies on the other hand, made up 41 percent of transactions made. These are normally smaller subsidiary companies that are part of a larger grouping of businesses. Alibaba’s Juhuasuan is one such example.
In 2012, around 15 percent of Chinese internet users used daily deals websites. The number of users recorded a year-on-year growth of 29.7 percent to 84 million. By the end of 2012, 2,695 daily deals websites were still in operation, while 56 percent stopped, down from the peak of 6,177 sites. Group buying websites offered 2.5 million deals, selling 456 million. 90 percent of the revenue was generated via local deal purchases. Deals regarding catering accounted for 45 percent of the revenue share, followed by recreation deals and services such as spa, massages and fitness. The product range was dominated by services rather than physical products. Meituan, one of the leading independent group buying websites offered around 52,000 services and 3,150 goods as of November 2012. Products offered had on average a 60 percent discount and users paid on average 47 yuan (US$ 7.49) for daily deals.
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