LivingSocial vs Groupon: Which Daily Deal Site Is Better?

All the Rage 12

If you're a coffee addict, I hope you snatched up the popular LivingSocial deal that was offered on Wednesday, because a $10 Starbucks gift card for $5 was a pretty sweet offer. Heck, you could have bought two of the deals for $10, and with your resulting $20 worth of Starbucks credit, purchased a 31-ounce Trenta Java Chip Frappucino with a shot of soy milk, caramel flavoring, a scoop of banana puree, another scoop of strawberry puree, a few vanilla beans, some protein powder, and a caramel drizzle -- then you'd only owe an extra $3.60!

Anyway, bizarrely convoluted beverage orders aside, yesterday's Starbucks offer put the spotlight back on daily deal websites, which have fallen off the radar lately. Groupon's stock has been dropping since their IPO in 2011, and LivingSocial (which is backed by Amazon) recently reported a net loss of $93 million.

They may be down, but the daily-deal sites clearly aren't out -- so let's take a look at how Groupon and LivingSocial compare:

On the surface, these two sites are pretty similar. Both offer daily deal emails, focus on metropolitan areas, and offer discounts on anything from dinner to dancing.

Groupon has around twice as many customers, based on a study done in July 2012. My thinking would be that a deal site with a bigger audience could pull in better offers, but it seems to be LivingSocial that's been getting the high-profile partnerships. Before the Starbucks deal, there was a similar $10 for $5 promotion with Whole Foods that sold a jaw-dropping 115,000 per hour.

When comparing the two for my home city's deals, here's what each site is offering as of this writing:

Groupon: 50% off a half-day of rafting on the Rogue River.
LivingSocial: One month of unlimited Bikram yoga for $40.

Both of those are appealing, I guess, but definitely not something I can use in my everyday life. I need, like, half off a mega-pack of extra-absorbent paper towels, or a month's worth of unlimited kid play center passes or something. But that's the thing with these kinds of sites, you never know what you're going to get -- there's something new every day.

As for which site is more popular among people I actually know, I conducted an informal Twitter poll:

Living Social as they have never tried to sell me a coupon for toenail fungus treatments (WTF?)  -- Daisy

Living social has less weird offers. Too many liposuction and colon cleanse groupons. -- Katrina

Livingsocial. At least here (Chicago) they seem to have better deals. Groupon has been a lot of LASIK and dentist appts lately.  -- Anne

Living social. I like that if three people buy through your link you get it free. -- Courtney

Groupon, for no particular reason other than I was aware of them first. -- Angela

Groupon has a better app. -- April

Groupon. They offer way more deals (with better discounts) in my area than livingsocial.

I wish I lived somewhere large enough that Groupon or LS was even available. 26,000 people is too small, apparently. -- Artemesia

We use both- never know who will have the better deal -- Axel

So it seems like my own survey group prefers LivingSocial somewhat, but if you really want to hedge your bets, it's probably best to sign up for both. That way, you never miss an opportunity to have a colon cleanse while you're performing yoga on a raft and slugging back a delicious cup of caffeine. Thanks, daily deal sites!

Which site do you like better, LivingSocial or Groupon? Did you get the Starbucks deal yesterday?


Images via LivingSocial, Groupon

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RMT1995 RMT1995

I jumped on that Starbucks deal .. 'tis almost the season for hot mochas! I sub to both, but have purchased more from LS, mainly due to them having more options in my area. I agree with those who mentioned the annoying lipo and teeth whitening deals. Less of those, more for products people will use and new places to try.

nonmember avatar Cathleen

I have done better with Living Social and Deal Chicken than with Groupon. I also like that LS gives you the opportunity to get your deal free after you've purchased. Groupon only gives you credits if you refer new people. I only know but so many people and once they've joined that's it for my referral options.

rhps2000 rhps2000

Groupon. And I really like the name Artemesia (above). I had never seen that unusual name before this. :)

nonmember avatar Lorna

Living Social. I joined Groupon, had lots of random coupons, and on top of it my email was immediately sold to a third party group. I've been getting spam non-stop ever since.

nonmember avatar LH

My impression is a lot depends on which city you're in. Groupon is way better in my city but I have a friend that says LS is better in some markets.

Gary Eichler

We've run deals through both and there is NO comparison. Groupon out performs LS by leaps and bounds.

nonmember avatar Sandy M.

Linda, I was doing some reaearch on "buying sites" and your blog popped up. LS and Groupon purchase the Starbucks coupons to resell to their customer base to increase increase and awareness of their sites. It has nothing to do with "getting the high profile deals".They are loss-leaders that the buying sites pay. They do the same thing with movie passes too.

nonmember avatar frances

I feel customer service was inadequate and the attention the representative gave was rude and inconsiderate. I explained my new health concerns that I have just found out and he was only concerned about Livingsocial and the businesses concerns. This is the worst experience I have ever had with any online service and will be publicized. All I was simply asking for was a credit since I am not able to use this voucher. He was not open at all to my situation or predicament. After giving my email he stated I work and Groupon and was making rude comments saying I feel "I'm entitled". Never have I been treated with such disrespect from an unethical, incompetent person. You should train your staff to be more considerate and flexible with customers needs. How do you ever plan on retaining customers if you don't treat them with respect! They asked me to get more information to prove my story and I asked if I did, will I get a refund and they said "NO". Then why would they have me put more time and effort if they weren't planning on giving me a refund. This is even more terrible customer support on their part...They are digging themselves deeper...no wonder they are going out of business.

Lauren Heintze

I recently discovered the app "FullCircle". It has lots of great features and works a little differently then LivingSocial and Groupon. One of them is called NearbySuperDeals similar to the two, but I think better. You don't have to purchase anything online! The deals are all local and it says that it currently is free for a business to post a deal so it seems like new companies are signing up everyday.

nonmember avatar Laura

I've been using groupon for almost one year. My experience was ok, even if you always have to double check yourself what are you getting into in terms of purchases.
I've been banned from their website only because my bank stopped a payment for a service never received (since the ultimate company wanted to charge me extra on top of the price already paid and we did not found an agreement).

This is their costumer service.


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