Gilt City vs Groupon vs LivingSocial: Local Deal Sites Compared

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Gilt City is a high end site that has deals on expensive activities like fine dining and huge vacations. Groupon is more down to earth with daily deals on everything from doorknobs to fishing trips. LivingSocial is focused more on group and pair activitie

One of the last places for the Internet to touch is local events and activities like fishing trips, vacations, and so on. But this is happening in spades these days. In fact, this is becoming so big that sites are now competing on giving you the best deals on restaurants, events, activities and other things for purchase that are near your location. Each site tends to be effective at a different aspect of the local deal scene.

Gilt City

Gilt is full of possibilities for local things to do. They have huge savings on things like skate rentals, local restaurants, indoor cycling classes and just about everything else you can think of just about. The offers on Gilt City last only up to one week, and the cities are limited to major cities like NYC, LA, Boston, Chicago Miami San Francisco, Seattle, and Dallas. The company has 4500 partners nationally, so you get a pretty wide mix of offers. The site also sells products outright in addition to all of the local deals.


  • Automatic Site Location-You don’t have to hunt around a lot for the city you’re in, since Gilt City will use your IP address to do this for you.
  • Easy Site Navigation-Gilt City does an effective job of this, having categories for “Women,” “Men, “Baby & Kids” or just the City specific heading.
  • Ending Soon-These deals are listed at the bottom of the page, and they are usually redeemable online. You can get quite large saving this way on both services and products like flowers, but you have to act on them quickly.
  • Waitlist Option- One nice feature on Gilt City is how you can sign up to be added to a waitlist if the deal you want to sign up for runs out. You will then automatically be notified when a similar deal becomes available.



Groupon is easily the most famous of the local deal sites. It describes itself as the “world’s commerce operating system.” The site is split up into Getaways, Goods, and the more general site deals. Groupon also has the Groupon Promise, which claims that the site will either fix any problem you have with a deal, or give you a full refund.


  • Long Term Deals-In addition to the deals with the biggest savings that are only available for 24 hours, Groupon also has long term deals that can last for 6 months to a year. This makes it better on average than places like Gilt City that have a much more limited range.
  • Groupon Reserve-This feature allows you to reserve a restaurant space without actually buying anything beforehand.
  • 75% Savings Daily- If you go with the daily deals, you can save up to 75% or more on certain products, with the downside being that you have to use them really fast.
  • Groupon Exclusives-Groupon has some deals that you can’t find on any other site because they are exclusive, such as for, as an example.

Living Social

LivingSocial is focused on groups and couples more than the other sites. They have expanded to at least include some of the same features as Groupon though, with “escapes,” being similar to Getaways, and “Shop” being similar to “Goods.”



Group/Couple Deals-LivingSocial allows multiple people to combine on deals. This makes them superior to sites like Groupon where you have to just give extra coupons away if the deal is for multiple people.

Unique Deals-The social focused nature of the site means you’ll find deals here that aren’t anywhere else. Examples include 6 week foreign language courses, or hotel stays in areas like Cozumel. Another example is the Motorsport Lab where you can try a Ferrari Autocross experience.

Holiday Gift Shop-There are holiday specific packages here that are appropriate to the season.

Masterpass- This program makes it easy to pay for stuff really quickly.


Head to Head

Major Brands

Gilt City has enough partnerships with major brands that if you prefer going with the big names instead of local businesses, they will often be a better approach.

Smooth Site Operation

Gilt City is much easier to get started with right away than Groupon. This is because Groupon requires you to pick a lot of preferences and input a lot of things into forms like your email address, gender and interests before you can even get to the site. This might make it more likely you’ll find deals more suited for you, but on the other hand if you just want to browse locally on your own it can be irritating. Groupon and Gilt City have flexible apps as well, though LivingSocial is only for iPhone.