My previous article promised survey results for Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN), an e-commerce company that connects merchants to consumers through the offering of discounted goods and services. Some analysts believe Groupon is a growth story while others believe it is overpriced and destined to never make money. My brief survey was designed to determine if Seeking Alpha viewers can determine the direction of this stock. Unfortunately, no definitive trend was found.
84% of the respondents received Groupon offers. 39% of those look forward to receiving Groupon offers on a daily basis, 40% use Groupon but "not very often" while 20% are no longer interested ("…go into the spam filter.").
Seeking Alpha viewers are undecided with their view of the direction of the stock, with 36% believing GRPN is an appropriately priced growth stock and 38% believing the stock price is in "nosebleed" territory (26% has no opinion).
Interestingly, there were few short sellers (6%) taking the survey. 39% of the survey takers identify themselves as "value" investors. 41% place themselves in the "growth" camp while 19% see themselves as "momentum" buyers of stocks.
The number of business users responding to the survey was not enough to provide results with appropriate statistical significance. Regardless, the percentages changed little over the past several days as more responses were tallied. Most businesses (68%) believe Groupon is effective in finding customers. 44% of the businesses made money by using Groupon while 24% lost money (I will assume the other 32% broke even). 40% of the businesses found acceptable loyalty from the Groupon customers while 28% "never heard" from those customers again.
I had hoped to see a large percentage of the respondents either love or hate the service Groupon provides. Instead the survey takers were split with their views. So now investors like me have to use fundamental and strategic analysis to determine the short and long term direction of the stock.
Summary of the Bullish Scenario:
- First big mover in its space advantage
- "Get big fast" strategy
- Brand recognition
- Rapidly growing with 10,000+ employees since 2008
- Global presence
- Will eventually determine and define a profitability strategy
- Groupon deals are a "win-win" for the consumer and businesses
Summary of the Bearish Scenario
- Accounting issues that required restatement in Sept. 2011 to conform to GAAP (accounting for revenue as a net amount relating to merchant fees) show a company with huge losses
- $15 billion market cap is difficult to justify by better case revenue projections
- Marketing expenses are approximately 90% of revenue
- Marketing expenses per new customer are greater than 90% of revenue
- Only 21% of over 140 million subscribers have made a Groupon purchase since 2009
- Low barriers to entry exist with increasing foreign and domestic competition
- Additional completion from both start-ups and industry giants
- Expected insider selling will begin in May
Disclosure: I intend to keep my short position of GRPN and will likely take a bearish position utilizing bear spreads before May 2012.