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FMCG brands' share of online traffic sees substantial growth

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Mobile phones, eating & drinking and saving money are the fastest growing sectors when it comes to UK internet traffic, according to the latest research from Nielsen.

Overall, mobile phone websites are the fastest growing sector online over the last year, with a 58% growth in unique visitors, followed by Food & Cooking, up 56% from 6.7 million visitors a year ago to 10.5 million, and Coupons/Rewards, up 55%.

The online success of drinks brands such as Ribena, Baileys and Coca-Cola were a major factor in the growth of the Food & Cooking sector, says Neilsen. The Ribena website grew from about 12,000 unique UK visitors in July 2008 to almost 950,000 in July 2009. Baileys went from around 6,000 to 540,000 whilst Coca-Cola went from 164,000 to 678,000 visitors — a growth of 313% percent.

"Ribena's huge growth is reminiscent of what we saw a year ago with Walkers Snack Foods," says Alex Burmaster, communications director of Nielsen's Online Division. "Walkers was the fastest growing brand online at the time due to their 'Brit Trips' promotion that offered discounts on British holidays and trips. The focus of Ribena's website is collecting coupons for outdoor games and fun days out in the UK, whilst the lion's share of their traffic is down to their 'Put your Wellies On' promotional competition offering UK cottage holidays."

"FMCG brands are becoming increasingly savvy and successful at generating awareness and activity around their brand online by tapping into consumer trends — in this case, saving money through the domestic holiday or 'staycation'," he added.

"One of the biggest movers in this sector has been Coca-Cola's 'Coke Zone', which offers rewards and prizes by collecting points from specially-marked bottles which can be redeemed online," says Burmaster. "The internet wasn't originally seen as a particularly relevant arena for FMCG brands — mantras such as people wouldn't buy a can from a cola website — so this is another great example of how brands can bridge this divide and use the web to drive high-street purchasing."

"Although saving money is a major theme across the fastest growing online sectors, the variety of sectors — from mobile phones to food and cooking, from automotive and health to technology and parenting — shows the diminishing areas of daily life that aren't significantly being impacted or enhanced by the internet," concludes Burmaster.

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