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British shoppers spent 14% more through ‘deal’ websites in 2014: IAB

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UK shoppers spent £16.5bn through ‘deal’ websites in 2014, some 14% more than they did the previous year, a new study shows.

Sales through price comparison, cashback, voucher and other performance marketing websites drove about 10% of all ecommerce retail sales, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau’s Online Performance Marketing study.

Almost four in five (79%) of 2,090 British consumers questioned by PwC and through YouGov for the study said they had used one of these types of site in the previous six months. Cashback websites were most likely to be used, by 67% of respondents. Voucher code sites were used by 57% at least once a month, while mobile voucher apps (56%) and loyalty sites (32%) were also used.

Asked where they were looking to save money, 21% cited holidays and travel, while 16% were looking for energy tariffs and 15% for car insurance.

“Britons generate 10m clicks every day in pursuit of getting a better deal or finding the right product – it’s an utterly ingrained part of today’s savvy consumerism,” said Tim Elkington, chief strategy officer at the UK’s Internet Advertising Bureau. “To put it in context, at £17bn it’s already as big as the beauty industry.

“For instance, 81% of Britons online are aware to some degree how price comparison sites make money, and, whilst the privacy debate continues, the reality is that nearly half are willing to share personal information online to get these deals and over a quarter do so at least once a month.”

Some £15.4bn of the total £16.5bn was spent through affiliate marketing sites that introduce the purchaser to the seller, while the remaining £1.1bn was generated through 30m online contact forms filled in online as part of the lead generation industry.

Online performance marketing (OPM), found the study, drove 10% of all UK ecommerce retail sales, and 1% of gross domestic product. The latter figure was approximately 34% higher than in 2013. Meanwhile, UK businesses spent £1.1bn on OPM activities, 8% more than in 2013 and equating, found the study, to a return of £15 for every £1 invested. The biggest spenders are financial companies (34% of total spend), followed by retail (21%), and travel and leisure companies (19%).

“OPM has grown to a near-£17bn industry due to the fact that all parties continue to benefit,” said Dan Bunyan, senior manager at PwC. “Advertisers get new customers extremely cost-effectively, consumers save money and get access to free online content, whilst the publisher in the middle gets revenue through referral fees.”

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