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updated 4/26/2011 6:49:11 PM ET 2011-04-26T22:49:11

Facebook's new discounted group-buying initiative "Facebook Deals" -- which aims to compete with existing social couponing power players Groupon and Living Social -- could help accelerate mobile commerce in the United States, according to an analyst.

The social networking site launched Deals on Tuesday (April 26) in five cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco, and will tout steep discounts on various services.

As more people access Facebook on the go through their mobile devices, Facebook Deals has the potential to get consumers primed to make even more purchases this way, said ABI Research analyst Neil Strother.

"Mobile commerce is already starting in the U.S., but even if a small percentage of the massive Facebook user base starts accessing and making purchases through the service on mobile devices, it could really impact m-commerce sales."

For example, if Starbucks or a movie media company wanted to push out coupons for products or tickets, this platform could open up a new way for advertisers to reach out to the Facebook audience, Strother added.

"Facebook Deals has the potential to become very powerful since it will be reaching people where they are already spending time," Strother told TechNewsDaily. "Plus, so many people already trust the site that they might feel comfortable making a purchase through it on their phone."

However, this doesn't mean that Deals will take off over night.

"If people seem to like it and tell their friends about it – especially on Facebook – it could gain momentum and really take off, even if this doesn't happen right away," Strother said.

Reach TechNewsDaily senior writer Samantha Murphy at smurphy@techmedianetwork.com. Follow her on Twitter @SamMurphy_TMN

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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