The middle classes are now hunting for online vouchers as internet shopping expands
People’s online habits are changing as the credit crunch begins to bite. Hitwise, which monitors the internet habits of 8.4 million people in the UK, has discovered that increasingly people are using price comparison websites, downloading sales vouchers, looking for moneysaving tips and shopping at online budget stores.
Robin Goad, the director of research for Hitwise in the UK, said that there had been a trebling in the number of people searching online using terms containing the word “sales” this summer, compared with last year. Meanwhile, websites offering sales vouchers giving discounts at popular stores are the fastest-growing retail internet phenomenon. Since the first such websites appeared last September, they have gained in popularity. Mr Goad said: “People are now specifically going to a voucher site before they start their online shopping to see what vouchers are available.”
Online shopping is also rapidly changing, with budget supermarkets undergoing the fastest growth. Tesco remains the dominant force in the market, although growth has almost plateaued at 0.8 per cent in the past year. Hitwise figures showed that Aldi had grown by 235.6 per cent since 2005, Lidl by 119.5 per cent and Morrisons by 114.8 per cent. Morrisons has enjoyed the fastest growth of any online supermarket in the past year - 52.6 per cent.
Mr Goad said: “Aldi is growing very fast and is now the third-biggest online supermarket. It has been growing pretty significantly over the last three years. You do hear a lot of stories about hard-up middle-class people who are having to go to Aldi to buy their pickled peppers, or whatever, but actually the reason Aldi has grown online is because their core customer base is going there more.”