United Kingdom Newsletter - July, 2009

Specific to this issue:
Feature Article
Are online discount vouchers on the decline?
The use of online vouchers has been one of the most recent online success stories. Voucher searches spiked massively in the run up to Christmas 2008, as savvy shoppers looked to find a bargain during the recession. Recently however, it's been noted that the boom time for discount vouchers may be coming to an end. This begs the question: are consumers and retailers tiring of discount vouchers?

As expected, there has been a significant decline since Christmas; however during the week ending 27/06/09, searches for 'vouchers' were also down 28.6% on the equivalent week last year (28/06/08). However, this includes searches for the single term 'vouchers', thus only capturing a small percentage of UK searches. 96% of UK searches containing the word 'vouchers' are for a longer term (e.g. 'discount vouchers', 'tesco vouchers', etc.).

The breadth of searches for 'voucher' (any term containing the word, 'voucher') has also declined since Christmas, nonetheless is still up year-on-year. This indicates an increasingly sophisticated voucher-searching audience. Consumers have become more educated in looking for vouchers online and their searches have become far more specific, rather than a rough generalisation. Certainly, the rate of increase in voucher searches has flattened as the market has become more mature.

Another angle to look at is the traffic to voucher specific websites such as Hot UK Deals, Money Saving Expert and My Voucher Codes. It can be illustrated that this sector has also flattened since Christmas and is actually down 12.1% on 2008. However, from the retailers' perspective, voucher sites are sending more traffic now than a year ago. During May 2009 the top voucher websites accounted for 0.53% of all upstream traffic to the Shopping and Classifieds industry. This was down from the peak of 0.82% during December, but up from 0.43% in May 2008.

In conclusion: the online voucher market is still large and voucher sites are sending a significant amount of traffic to retailers. But the market is maturing fast and is no longer growing at the rate it once was.

Read the full article here.

Fast Mover
Michael Jackson - www.michaeljackson.com
Position on 24/06/2009: #7827
Position on 26/06/2009: #89
Positions Jumped: 7738

Following the tragic death of Michael Jackson (25/06/09), UK Internet visits to his homepage, www.michaeljackson.com, increased 17-fold, making it the 9th most visited music website in the UK, and the highest ranked artist homepage. From 24/06/09 to 26/06/09, the site moved 7738 spots up the rankings, making it the 89th most visited website in the UK overall.

Two additional websites also experienced a surge in traffic to their site off the back of the breaking news. TMZ broke the story, thus resulting in a 20-fold increase, picking up 1 in every 1110 UK Internet visits, pushing their overall ranking to 73rd. Twitter, the micro-blogging service, was inundated by conversations between bloggers regarding the King of Pops death. Twitter thus experienced a huge spike in traffic and at the time (25/06/09), it experienced its busiest day in UK history (which has since climbed higher).

News in Brief
Apple iPhone 3G S vs Nokia N97
The Hitwise UK's Hot Consumer Electronics List tracked online activity in the build up to the launch of both the Apple iPhone and Nokia N97 on 19/06/09. By the week ending 13/06/09, the Apple iPhone was the most searched for phone by UK Internet users (24.8%). Thus, the iPhone accounted for 1 in every 4 mobile phone searches, doubling the previous week's volume.

The Nokia N97 was second with 3.6% of phone searches and the Nokia 5800 at 2.6%. In the initial build up stages, all mobile phone companies had a slow, steady start with the N97 leading the mobile phone category. However by the week ending 16/06/09, the iPhone regained its popularity and searches became twice as many as the N97.

Outlined below is the full list of the top 10 most searched for mobile phones produced by the Hot Consumers Electronics List for the week ending 13/06/09. Interestingly, the Palm Pre, which was also due to be released at the same time as the Nokia and Apple phones, did not perform as well, spotting sixth place at 1.2%.

1. Apple iPhone 24.8%
2. Nokia N97 3.6%
3. Nokia 5800 Tube 2.6%
4. Samsung F480 Tocco 1.8%
5. LG KP500 Cookie 1.6%
6. Palm Pre 1.2%
7. Samsung S5230 Tocco Lite 1.0%
8. Sony Ericsson W995 1.0%
9. LG Viewty KU990 0.9%
10. Samsung S8300 Tocco Ultra 0.8%

Over 1300 websites received traffic from the portfolio of New iPhone search terms for the w/e 13/06/09. The official Apple iPhone site, and the Apple UK site took 16% of clicks from this portfolio. The Telegraph and the Mirror were well optimised for the phone launch, sitting in the top ten websites receiving traffic (primarily from organic traffic). Specialist sites, Product Reviews and Engadget also posted relevant content on the iPhone launch being well optimised, making 8th and 9th spots respectively. Carphone Warehouse paid for a significant 85% of its traffic, enabling the retailer to receive slightly more traffic than the O2 Shop, the only other official iPhone seller.

Read the full article here.

Twitter sending traffic to online media sites, but not online retailers

UK Internet traffic to Twitter, the "micro-blogging" service and social network, has increased 22-fold over the last 12 months, becoming the fastest growing major website in the UK. During May 2009 www.twitter.com ranked as the 38th most visited website in the UK and the fifth most visited social network (during May 2008 it was the 969th most visited website and 84th most visited social network).

One consequence of its phenomenal growth is that Twitter has become a key source of traffic to other websites. During May 2009, Twitter was the 30th biggest source of traffic for other sites in the UK, accounting for 1 in every 350 visits to a typical website. Over half of this traffic (55.9%) is sent to other content-driven online media sites, such as social networks, blogs and news and entertainment websites. However, only 9.5% of Twitter's downstream traffic is sent to transactional websites (i.e. travel, business and finance sites and online retailers). By contrast, Google UK sends 30.7% and Facebook 14.7%, of its traffic to transactional sites.

The third party website that has benefited most from Twitter's success is Twitpic, a service which allows users to upload photos and pictures to their Twitter profiles. The site was the biggest recipient of UK traffic from Twitter during May 2009, picking up 1 in every 13 downstream visits from the social network. UK Internet visits to Twitpic have increased 250-fold over the last 12 months, and it is now the third most popular photo website in the UK behind Flickr and Photobucket.

Read the full article here.

Hitwise Webinar: How to Maximise Twitter
Hosted by Robin Goad, Hitwise UK Research Director and very own Twitter expert, this recorded webinar looks at the Twitter phenomenon and how it is driving the future of social media in the UK. Find out how you could be maximising Twitter in your own business today!
View the recording here.

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Find out more here.
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