According to Dataotuan, a Chinese daily deal aggregator and analytics company, the trend shows that deal quantity is increasing but deal quality is decreasing. Simply put, daily deal effectiveness is deteriorating.

Dataotuan has tracked the number of deals launched and sold since May and it reveals that although more deals are being created, the average number sold and average revenue per deal is sliding.

To illustrate the precarious nature of the group buying model in China, Dataotuan looked at the number of ‘failed’ deals, or deals that sold less than five times. May recorded 4.9%, June 7.8% and July 8.7% and nearly half of these failed deals have no sales. Out of the top 10 players by revenue, QQ had the highest proportion of failed deals at 16.7% and Dianping, the lowest with only 0.5%. However QQ still dominates the market in terms of market share by revenue at 11.9%, indicating a kind of spray and pray approach to deal creation. Of the failed deals, online shopping accounts for 32% and life services accounts for 31%.

Almost unsurprisingly, given the amount of trouble Gaopeng has been in lately with office closures, Gaopeng has recorded 29.4% failed deals. I met a bunch of ex-Gaopeng people last week and the look on their faces about Gaopeng said it all, it’s a sinking ship. A common phrase amongst Gaopeng-er’s due to the amount of rapid change in the company is that “one year in Gaopeng is equal to five years somewhere else.” Or perhaps it is “one day in Gaopeng is equal to five days somewhere else” since Gaopeng only opened office this year and many stay only for a few months. Despite the trouble, many Gaopeng people tell me it’s a great experience.

Like we predicted a while ago, naturally the heavily fragmented group-buying market is starting to consolidate and the smaller players are starting to die. Still a hot market to be in, new group buying models are starting to emerge which are innovatively trying to solve problems of customer loyalty and too many customers going at peak business periods, resulting in a bad customer experience.

CEO of Dataotuan, Wenli Liao, based on these findings, says “Our general conclusion looking at the July numbers is that, the daily deal market in China is getting tougher for all the players. The top 10-20 players have to start finetuning on all levels as the impulsive “Just publish a deal” period seems to be coming to an end.”

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Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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