« Uptick in shoplifting signals, oddly, that economy is back | Main | What's the best method for paying someone back? »

June 28, 2021

Are group buying sites really that good a deal?

Although it seems that most of the deals on group buying sites are for spa or nail services, they’re no denying their popularity. There are over 100 sites in Canada and over 50 aggregators at last count.

Group While not everybody signs up, 49 per cent of us have at least visited a daily deal site, according to a recent survey by OneSpout, one of the many services that aggregates deals, filters them and summarises the most likely to appeal to you in a single e-mail.  

Of those who bought, 40 per cent say they like group buying because it allows them to try out a product or service they wouldn’t consider at regular price.

At the same time though, roughly three quarters of us admit to signing up for deals that we weren't really looking for. The top of the list: 2 for 1 restaurant deals, it seems.  

So, are you really saving money when you jump on a Groupon or TeamBuy, or are you simply giving in to impulse shopping that has long plagued Costco shoppers?

It’s tough to pass up a good deal. If you have a weakness for buying things you may not need, stop and ask yourself if this is something you’ll actually use. Part of the pricing model assumes that coupons are going to end up tucked away in a purse or wallet.

And is it really money well spent? If you use a $10 voucher to receive $20 worth of drinks at a local eatery, you’re almost guaranteed to spend more than the voucher is worth. After buying dinner for at least two people, you’re likely looking at another $50 in charges.

As well, naive or simply stunned vendors underestimate demand (here's a real horror story and a tale of unhappy customers), which means your coupon is either devalued somehow, subject to more restrictions than you’re willing to put up with, or simply becomes a mistake that you’ll dump at a discount.

But people are obviously coming back for more.

What’s your experience? Have your group buys paid off? Or your neighbourhood butchers and hair salons simply over-selling their offers?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money

* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...