I was preparing a lecture recently for a postgrad course at the Digital Marketing Institute and was struck by the data on one of the charts I had compiled. The chart was painting a picture of the relative strength of the various categories of online commerce in Ireland. It was based on an examination of the top 250 most trafficked websites where visitors’ primary purpose was to purchase products or services.

Just look at the relative strength of the ‘marketplace‘ category which is comprised of websites that facilitate individuals buying and selling to each other:

Unique Visitors from Ireland to Online Commerce Websites by Category

We’ve been talking quite a bit about the advent of social commerce as a relatively  new phenomenon. However the inherently social marketplace websites such as eBay, Gumtree, DoneDeal and Daft have all been around for quite a while. In reality the web has always been particularly good at facilitating commercial transactions amongst and between individuals.

We are indeed starting to see a new dimension in social commerce. The strongest trend in this market is clearly seen by the impact that the ‘group deals‘ category is having within a relatively short period (see the chart above). In large part due to the impact of just two websites – Groupon’s Citydeal and LivingSocial – both of which were relatively unknown in Ireland just twelve months ago. These websites’ ability to tap into consumers’ social tapestry (both functionally and psychologically) is surely at the heart of their ever-accelerating growth.