After the initial kerfuffle over Groupon clones in China a couple of years ago, the daily deals sector in the country ended up being dominated by a familiar name: Taobao. With 34 percent market share by revenue, Taobao Juhuasuan has shown that the homegrown e-commerce giant Alibaba was able to adapt to deals alongside its other online retailing sites. Over the weekend, Alibaba revealed that its own deals site hit 20.75 billion RMB (US$3.3 billion) in sales  in the whole of 2012. That figure is 2.03 times greater than it was in 2011.
Alibaba also disclosed that Taobao Juhuasuan (at ju.taobao.com), not to be confused with the C2C online mall that Alibaba runs at Taobao.com, has achieved a peak of 16 million visits. The deals portal saw an average of eight million unique visitors throughout the year.
The e-commerce firm has been diversifying its deals so as to differentiate Juhuasuan from its many competitors. One example was the recent promotion whereby household items like sofas and TVs could be specced and customized by buyers who had placed a deposit on the modded items. In this way, the daily deals industry is slowly merging with more conventional e-commerce models, as well as evolving out of the low-profit cut-price deals niche. Alibaba says it plans more promotions like that on its deals platform.
The Juhuasuan site has double the market share of its nearest rival, Meituan, in a highly fragmented market where thousands of smaller deals sites die off every year. The only major consolidation we’ve seen in the industry was when Alibaba’s major rival, Tencent, oversaw the merger of Groupon China with FTuan.
In other news from Alibaba that also involves huge numbers, the company said recently that its two online malls, Taobao and Tmall, generated $159.5 billion in sales in the first 11 months of 2012.
- Alibaba uses the term gross merchandising volume (GMV), which approximates to sales revenue generated. ↩