NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The big story late last week was the long-anticipated initial public offering of stock in Groupon, the Chicago-based daily coupon company. After initially pricing its offering at $20 a share, the price climbed as high as $31.34 Friday. While some business news outlets have gone as far as to call the company – with its sometimes-questionable accounting practices – a “Ponzi scheme,” there’s no doubt that it’s the tech stock of the moment. Meanwhile, countless competitors have cropped up, with everyone from Google to various niche upstarts trying to get a cut of the action.
Couponing has taken the TV world by storm, too. TLC’s Extreme Couponing, a reality show that follows people who make a business of saving money on groceries, has been a smash hit among viewers who love watching people save tons of money at the grocery store.
Yes, couponing, once the province of cost-conscious homemakers, has transformed itself into a multibillion-dollar industry that captivates both the traders on Wall Street and the viewers at home. And it’s done so by undergoing fundamental transformations, adapting to advancing technology and broadening its appeal to people who once wouldn’t be caught dead clipping coupons.
Here’s how couponing has changed, and what we can expect to see in the future.