Japan’s Daily Coupon Market: Is Groupon About To Lose Its Top Position To Ponpare?

Japan’s market for daily coupon services is heating up. It has been pretty much a two-horse race for months now, with Groupon Japan as the top player in the market and Recruit’s Ponpare as a close second.

In April, for example, Groupon Japan was estimated to have racked up $18.6 million in sales, while Ponpare is said to have generated $14.5 million in the same month.

But according to coupon search service CP4U, Ponpare has made about as much money as Groupon Japan last month. In fact, the difference between the two sites has never been smaller, after Ponpare doubled it sales from 858 million yen to 1.64 billion yen from May to June.

Groupon, however, still sits on the No. 1 position in Japan daily coupon market (sales in June: 1.65 billion yen). Compared to Groupon and Ponpare, other players barely play a role:

Groupon Japan Gives Away $50 PC Game For New Members

The market for daily coupon services in Japan has developed into a a two-horse race in the last few months: Groupon Japan is leading the market with an estimated $18.6 million in sales in April this year against Recruit’s Ponpare, which racked up $14.5 million in the same month (according to daily coupon search service CP4U).

Both Groupon Japan and Ponpare have been trying to aggressively acquire users since their inception. Groupon has been flooding the entire Japanese web with display ads for months, while Ponpare resorted to methods like offering 500 Yen McDonalds coupons for 100 Yen, all just to add as many members as possible.

And now Groupon Japan is taking this one step further: everybody who registers for the service through this page can download a PC game worth 3,980 Yen (US$50) for free.

Needless to say the game (an action RPG called “Ys: The Ark of Napishtim”) has absolutely nothing do to with what Groupon usually offers but is just a user acquisition play.Tip: if you’re able to register in Japanese but want to play the game itself in English, visit this page for a language patch.

The Ys Groupon campaign started today and runs until June 30. Another Ys game, Ys Origin (which is also worth US$50), can be downloaded for free only today (if you register).

Groupon has been offering software as free downloads for quite some time now (just like Ponpare), but as far as we can see the Ys games boast the biggest value so far.


Groupon Japan And Recruit Pompare Show Strong Recovery After The Quake

Japanese flash coupon vertical search Coupon-JP has just released an April version of sales estimation of major social coupon services [J, pdf] after March report skipped by the quake.

Groupon Japan, which started by US Groupon purchasing a local clone last summer, has been leading the market but got damaged by terrible osechigate at the beginning of 2011. Coupon-JP’s January and February statistics showed its stagnation involving many other clones, and an ads-aggressive follower Ponpare’s catch-up.

By seeing it, there were people (including I) saying that Groupon model may not work for Japan like in US. I also heard some people in industry told that Recruit, who is said to run Ponpare with much lower commission than Groupon Japan, does not really want to succeed on Pompare, but tries to devastate the flash coupon market itself.

However, the April report gives good uptrends of Groupon Japan, 172% of February sales. Recruit Ponpare also recorded 190%. Their day-to-day sales chart gives you an idea how the big disaster affected first, then both gained a lot more sales even before that.

Nationwide jishuku(restraint and thrift) mentality arose after the disasters refrains people from spending money on anything expensive. That should work positively on coupon sales.

About other players, Ikkyu Coupon passed Toku and Sharee but none of their sales threaten the top 2 by numbers.

2channel Founder’s 10 Million Yen Donation Rejected By Groupon Japan

Groupon Japan, local operator of successful digital coupon company Groupon, which drew cold stares by the new year’s trouble, was one of the fast web companies who started the earthquake victims saving program.

Their “matching gift” donation collected 100 million yen by March 20th, and Groupon Japan added their own 100 million yen on top of it, and they plan to donate it to Japan Red Cross, the page said.

Hiroyuki Nishimura, a founder of 2channel and a thought leader of Japanese anonymous web, on 13th(two days after the earthquake) tweeted to ask if any company running the matching gift donation accept his 10 million yen donation. He donated about the same amount at Niigata earthquake in 2006.

Groupon Japan’s staff @mariroom approached him on Twitter reply. Nishimura then asked if there is a way for him to confirm the donation is really executed from outside. @mariroom said yes, then asked to discuss in private.

What were discussed was not disclosed by both sides, but at the end, Nishimura reported that his offer was rejected by Groupon Japan.

After the rejection, Nishimura asked the same idea to DMM.com, who runs a popular online paid movie service and a competing coupon service. DMM’s president Matsue answered that it is difficult because the DMM’s donation campaign budget is already set, and offered he himself would donate the same amount privately.

Here is the uploaded receipt of the two persons’ donation 20,002,525 yen. The odd price 2,525 yen was by Nishimura, which has the same sound of Nico Nico, a brand name of popular movie sharing service Nico Nico Douga, which he advises.

via News Tokuhou

Groupon Japan Sets A Special Offer To Raise Money For Japan Earthquake

Groupon Japan starts a special offer for collecting donations from users. If you purchase an offer costing 200 yen, Groupon Japan will donate 400 yen to the group helping the recovery for earthquake hit east coast of Japan (“Japan Red Cross is planned”, the page says).

Groupon’s Call to Donate for Japan earthquake[J]

More than 9600 users has joined to this campaign, and the sum of donation to be made by Groupon is  now exceeding 3.8 million yen.