Groupon-style group buying is alive and well in the Baltics it would seem. Cherry Media, the largest daily deals operator in the region, has put out some impressive numbers today: In the first half of this year, the two-year old startup has sold €12.48 million worth of partner merchants’ services and goods, more than double the €5.85 million sold in the same period last year. Furthermore, 2012 sales in total are projected to be in the €26-29 million range, making Cherry the number one e-commerce player in the Baltics overall, according to the company.
Cherry operates daily deals sites Cherry.ee in Estonia, Cherry.lv and CityLife.lv in Latvia and Beta.lt and Grupinis.lt in Lithuania, through which it shifted 1.2 million vouchers in H1 2012.
Its dominance of the daily deals sector is further demonstrated by market share in the month of May, citing Refresh.lv and Pick.lt data: 60% of the online group buying market in Lithuania, 58% in Latvia and 59% in Estonia.
Meanwhile, future growth is said to come from Cherry’s recent expansion into the fashion segment. In July, the company launched Beta.lt Style in Lithuania, offering high quality clothing, footwear, accessories and fragrances from global brands, including Emporio Armani, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Miss Sixty, and Guess at “deeply discounted prices”.
Lofty claims of number one aside, the numbers do suggest at least one thing. Post-Groupon IPO, the daily deals phenomenon doesn’t seem to have lost any of its pulling power, even if a rapid period of consolidation does mean the landscape is shaped very differently now.
That’s certainly the case in the Baltics — Cherry Media Group was formed out of a roll up of daily deal players in the region in May 2011: Cherry Media, Beta.lt and Dealcraft. In April 2012, Cherry Media also acquired CityLife.lv, a key competitor in Latvia.
In addition, Central and Eastern European e-commerce player, Slevomat Group, which operates in Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria, acquired a minority stake in Cherry Media in December 2011. The two companies also have a strategic partnership, collaborating on new products, cross-border deal sourcing, and IT platforms. And just this July, Estonia’s Aladja Media Management, which invests in media, IT and financial companies, and is controlled by George Shabad (co-founder of BNS and Delfi in the 1990s), also acquired a minority stake in Cherry Media.
Cherry Media employs over 120 people, and works with over 4,000 merchant partners.