Discount Britain – why the UK is bought into the rise of budget online shopping

The growth of pound shops and discount retailers on the high street is a long-standing phenomenon; retailers in this space are going from strength to strength and the popularity of discount shopping is at an all-time high.

But does this trend stretch to online? How popular is discount shopping online, and who is leading the charge when it comes to sourcing the latest bargains?
A number of the traditional offline-only discount retailers have ventured into the online space this year, and the figures speak for themselves. Our Experian Hitwise analysis shows that visits to Discount Britain websites – price comparison, social shopping, vouchers, cashback, pound shops and other austere shopping sites – have grown 17 per cent between 2012 and 2013. Year on year growth for other discount shopping categories include:

  • Online pound shops: 34 million visits, 88 percent growth
  • Social shopping sites: 523 million visits, 57 percent growth
  • Voucher sites: 350 million visits, 18 percent growth
  • Cashback sites: 184 million visits, 3 percent growth

Online pound shops in particular saw a spurt at the start of the year with 125 growth February 2013 to February 2014. With pound shops beginning to develop online offerings and seeing 3.5 million visits a month, this category is the fastest growing of the austere shopping sites, and could accelerate rapidly in 2014 as more pound shop brands go online.

Discount shoppers – the rise of Middle Britain
Analysis from Experian’s Mosaic tool has shown that demographic groups representative of Middle Britain are now at the forefront of discount shopping:

  • Affluent working families – 12 percent more likely than the average consumer to visit Discount Britain sites, these groups are often working professionals with both parents juggling family and careers. Solid incomes provide a comfortable modern home, but are always keen to seek value for money when shopping – this group is hyper connected and internet savvy and knows how to shop online for a bargain
  • Older suburban dwellers – More mature families that live a moderate lifestyle in suburban areas, this group is 8 per cent more likely than the average consumer to visit Discount Britain sites. This group is very much a fan of the ‘no frills’ approach when it comes to shopping, are happy to purchase mainstream brands at reasonable prices and have the time and inclination to shop around for a deal if they think they can get value for money elsewhere.
  • Younger house buyers – our more prolific younger singles and couples in starter homes, this group use the internet to find goods and services – discount shopping forms a huge part of this, and this group are 6 per cent more likely than the average consumer to visit Discount Britain sites

There’s little doubt that UK consumers have become more savvy in recent years to make the most of their earnings. As marketers, we may be surprised that the richest groups in society are using these sites, but it really highlights the importance of understanding your customers, and how their attitudes change. Knowing which pockets of society are undergoing change in this way is crucial to ensuring your message reaches the right consumers at the right time – every time.