While we Americans are used to Groupon offers that propose reduced rates on restaurants and hotels, Groupon India has offered a very different type of deal—and to overwhelming results.

On September 5th, Groupon India began offering a deal on raw onions. For 9 rupees (about $0.14) the customer receives 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of onions. They ran the offer accompanied by a humorous description referencing the recent rise in onion prices in India: “This much-coveted, much-written-about, much-craved-for vegetable is now almost as expensive as caviar, diamonds, and Donald Trump’s wig!

The offer, available for 3,000 buyers each day, shockingly sold out in only 44 minutes. The amount of people who went to the website to purchase the offer effectively crashed Groupon India’s website. The site’s Chief Executive Ankur Warikoo said he never anticipated the success of the deal. “It was meant to generate excitement by selling onions at a knock-down price. We deliberately put the cap at one kilo. It is really intended to be something fun.”


The deal was offered again on September 9th, selling out in an astounding seven minutes.

Why onions? Why now? As it turns out, India’s onion prices are rapidly on the rise. According to the Wall Street Journal, onion prices in India jumped about 90 percent in August—from $0.46 a kilogram to $0.86 a kilogram. It is estimated that the price right now is about $1.57 a kilogram, a steep price to pay for one of the country’s staple ingredients.

According to BBC News, Indians eat about 50 million tons of onions a year. Due to a drought that affected crops last year and heavy rains that damaged crops this year, stocks are low and causing prices to rise. Some people can no longer afford onions and are forced to give up a food that is integral to their diet. Politicians are using onions in their campaigns, giving them away as gifts instead of candy. Onion prices have been known to swing elections in India before, and this year is no exception.

[Via: Huffington Post}