A glut of online vouchers emerged in the run up to Christmas last year but in the following months consumers and retailers have become more sophisticated in the way they look for and use vouchers.
Robin Goad, director of research for Hitwise in the UK, says: “We are seeing the emergence of the ‘maximising consumer’; these shoppers don’t necessarily buy the cheapest products or services, but they do spend a lot of time researching online before selecting what to buy, and then a bit more time to find the best price or discounts before making a purchase.”
Searches for generic terms such as ‘discount voucher’ have remained flat over the past 12 months with the growth coming from searches for specific products and retailers.
Online search terms including the words ‘voucher’ or ‘vouchers’ increased fourfold from 8,300 variations in July last year to 34,200 this year.
Voucher aggregation sites have also lost favour with consumers, and traffic has dived 5% despite the growing interest in vouchers. Consumers often find deals featured on aggregate sites are out of date or irrelevant.
“The other change is that the retailers themselves – both online only and high street players – are trying harder to pick up traffic from voucher searches directly, rather than pay for a link from a voucher website,” says Goad.
Tesco is the only retailer to appear in the Top 10 voucher related search terms in July, taking up two places.
Searches for restaurant vouchers has increased 226.3% in the last 12 months, with Pizza Express particularly benefiting. ‘Pizza Express voucher’ was the second most searched for term over the period.