Sales & Marketing

Brits spent a record £16.5bn via deal websites in 2014

4 min read

29 April 2015

Former deputy editor

Bargain-hunting British consumers are increasingly reliant on deal websites to make transactions, as a study has found a record £16.5bn was spent through the channels in 2014.

Following the London Marathon on 26 April, Vouchercodes.co.uk revealed its website had experienced a surge of shoppers searching for sporting goods, while retailers had increased the number of deals available.

The heightened interest complements the research from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) and professional services firm PwC, which has revealed that more consumers are turning to voucher, cashback, loyalty and review sites than ever before.

Indeed the record-breaking £16.5bn spent through the digital channels in 2014 is a 14 per cent rise on 2013.

Results showed that 79 per cent of online Brits have used one of the websites in the past six months. Cashback sites are the most used, with 67 per cent of people turning to them at least one each month.

Elsewhere, 57 per cent of consumers turn to voucher code sites at least once a month, falling marginally to 56 per cent for those who use mobile voucher apps. Loyalty sites were slightly less popular, used by 32 per cent of people to redeem or spend points.

Given the expense of holidays and travel, 21 per cent of consumers made it the most common area they’ll try and make savings. This was followed by energy bills and car insurance at 16 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

“Britons generate 10 million 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. To put it in context, at £17bn it’s already as big as the beauty industry,” said Tim Elkington, chief strategy officer at the UK’s Internet Advertising Bureau.

“For instance, 81 per cent 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.”

Read more on savvy shoppers:

The deal websites’ online performance marketing (OPM) approach, which only results in them being paid if a consumer completes an action, now drives ten per cent of all eCommerce transactions in the UK.

The findings found that £15.4bn of the spend came from affiliate marketing, through which third-party sites are paid referral fees for connecting a purchaser to the seller. Lead generation made up the remaining £1.1bn in sales, driven as 30m online contact forms were completed on price comparison sites.

The biggest OPM spenders were financial companies, followed by retail and travel & leisure industries, at 34 per cent, 21 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.

“OPM has grown to a near-£17bn industry due to the fact that all parties continue to benefit,” explains 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.”