Now that Groupon has finally pulled the metaphorical lever to get its $20-$30 billion IPO moving, everyone’s all hopped up on daily deals and group buying. Last week, Juice in the City, a daily deal site for moms, raised $6 million, and a few days later, Intertainment Media bought daily deal site DealFrenzy.com for $700k. Everybody wants them some deals! But whatever happened to the old school days of coupon-clipping? Declining newspaper subscription sales have led a steep drop in print coupon clipping, but Coupons.com wants to reinvent the coupon in digital form, and today the company is announcing a $200 million round of funding from several undisclosed institutional investors.
Coupon clipping has long had a pretty mundane, suburban reputation, but Coupons.com notes that digital coupons represent the fastest growing segment in the coupon industry, distributing more than 332 billion coupons to customers in 2010. To get an idea for what that growth has been like, let’s compare 2009 to 2006. In 2006, digital coupons represented just 1.1% of all coupons distributed, but in 2009, that number jumped to 10%. And that growth corresponds directly with declining newspaper sales, with newspaper coupons declining from 63% in 2006 to 50% in 2009.
With a network totaling tens of thousands of websites, including retailer sites that span 46,000 locations, Coupons.com is the 43rd largest website in the U.S. As part of the company’s digital network, Coupons.com features consumer electronics, shopping carts and kiosks, as well as apps, including the Grocery iQ and Coupons.com mobile apps.
“Frugal is the new black,” said Coupons.com CEO Steven Boal in a statement. “As consumers are looking for savings and deals more than ever before, Coupons.com is expanding the coupons and promotions market, by allowing more brands to connect with more consumers at every touch-point across the digital landscape. Coupons.com has created a digital marketplace where brands, retailers and consumers can connect at every step along the consumer’s path to purchase.”
The company plans to use $100 million of the investment for liquidity for employees and early investors, and the other $100 million will be used to hire 100 additional employees (the company currently has 300 employees), grow the customer base and the coupons issued, ramp up product development and international expansion, and complete acquisitions.