United Kingdom Newsletter - August, 2009

Specific to this issue:
 
Feature Article
Voucher searches up 47.5% in a year
UK Internet searches for discount vouchers have increased by 47.5% over the last 12 months. The increase in searches for a portfolio of 4,500+ voucher-related search terms between the weeks ending 02/08/2008 and 01/08/2009 clearly reflects British consumers' hunger for bargains and discounts during the recession.

Vouchers offering everything from discounts at high end retailers to 2-for-1 pizzas have become immensely popular in the UK. The search for discount vouchers has become increasingly sophisticated, as we are beginning to see the emergence of what the Future Foundation call the 'maximising consumer'. These shoppers do not necessarily buy the cheapest products or services, but spend a lot of time researching online before selecting what to buy, and finding the best price or discounts before making a purchase.

UK Internet searches for generic terms such as 'voucher' or 'discount vouchers' have decreased or remained flat over the last 12 months. The growth in voucher searches has become more specific when looking for deals and discounts for particular products or retailers. During July 2008, UK Internet users searched for 8,300 distinct variations of search terms containing either the word 'voucher' or 'vouchers'; by July 2009, this figure had more than quadrupled to 34,200.

After retailers, restaurants are the sector that benefited the most from the growth in online vouchers over the last 12 months, where restaurant voucher searches increased by 226.3%. Pizza restaurants dominated the list of the top 10 voucher related searches in the UK during the 4 weeks ending 01/08/09. 'pizza express voucher' was the second most searched for voucher term over the period, and the most popular branded voucher search.

Current online voucher success stories have encouraged other 'offline' industries to use the Internet for customer acquisition. For example, UK Internet searches for travel and theme park vouchers have more than doubled this year, while searches for cinema vouchers have trebled.

Read the full article.


Fast Mover
Fourth Plinth - www.oneandother.co.uk
Position on 04/07/2009: #20423
Position on 07/07/2009: #698
Positions Jumped: 19725

UK Internet visits to One & Other, the website streaming live webcam footage from Antony Gormley's art installation on Trafalgar square's fourth plinth, shot up between 04/07/2009 and 07/07/2009. It was the 698th most popular website in the UK, and the number one most visited site in the Entertainment - Performing Arts category on 07/07/2009. Visitors were spending an average of eight and a half minutes viewing the site.

One & Other received 13.7% of its traffic from Google UK, while Twitter was the second biggest source, sending 9.9% of visitors. Facebook (8.1%) and the Mayor of London's homepage (6.9%) came in third and fourth respectively. The event was sponsored by Sky Arts, which successfully drove traffic to its site, as 12.5% of One & Other's downstream traffic went to the Sky Arts homepage. The site had its busiest day on July 7, picking up 1 in every 10 visits to websites in the Entertainment - Arts category.

News In Brief
Pregnancy and baby searches
With speculations that the current recession has seen a surge in pregnancies throughout the UK, Hitwise looked into providing further evidence on this theory. For the 12 weeks ending 18/07/09, Hitwise tracked 97,000 distinct search terms containing the phrase 'pregnancy' and a further 94,000 containing 'pregnant'. Two popular search terms, 'pregnancy symptoms' and 'how to get pregnant', have increased by 117% and 150% respectively over the last 12 months.

Hitwise does not have a specialist baby / pregnancy category; rather, all of the content driven sites are contained in the Lifestyle - Family category. UK Internet visits to the 'Baby websites' custom category has increased by 23% over the last 12 months. Perhaps more significantly, this is against a backdrop of declining traffic to the Lifestyle - Family category overall. Three years ago the top 50 baby / pregnancy websites accounted for 13% of visits to the category; currently the figure is 41%.

The market share of the three biggest online retailers of baby paraphernalia Mothercare, Kiddicare, and Mamas and Papas, within the Shopping and Classifieds category, are currently experiencing record market share. This would imply that baby products may be more recession-proof than other retail sectors. However, Its worth noting, keywords such as 'cheap', 'used' and 'for sale' are becoming increasingly popular amongst searches for prams, pushchairs and cots.

Read the full article.

Mortgages: Deposits and Fixed Rates

After a New Year's surge, searches for the terms in Hitwise's Mortgages Portfolio have dropped consistently during 2009. There was a dramatic decrease (25%) in March as interest rates dropped to 0.5% and the FSA's Turner Report proposed restrictions on the mortgage lenders market resulted in a further drop in May (18%). A slight recovery (26%) in June, as lenders appeared to relax their lending criteria was short-lived, as the volume of mortgage searches experienced another steep drop (21%) for the w/e 27/06/09.

Over the past six months (between 12 weeks ending 27/06/2009 and 12 weeks ending 27/12/2008), with interest rates sitting at their lowest for 300 years, online behaviour pointed towards consumers' wishes to fix their mortgage deals. Four of the top 10 largest new search terms were fixed rate related, with 'best 3 year fixed rate mortgage' the highest, closely followed by 'best five year fixed rate mortgage'. Over this period, one term related to size of deposits, '95% mortgage deals' the 5th largest new term.

However, over the most recent quarter, (comparing 12 weeks ending 27/06/2009 with 12 weeks ending 28/03/2009) search behaviour has changed. Consumers, specifically first time buyers, have become more concerned with the size of their deposits than fixed rate deals. Four of the top 10 largest new terms were related to the size of deposits, with '95% mortgages for first time buyers' the highest, closely followed by '95% mortgage lenders' and '90% mortgages for first time buyers'.

Read the full article.

Download your complimentary preview of the Hitwise UK's Financial Services Quarterly Review.


Promotions
White paper: Planning for a Successful Christmas 2009 - Top 12 Tips
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Hitwise UK Webinar Recording: The Online Consumer Landscape

Addressing the latest trends in the online consumer landscape this recorded session looks at online consumer behaviour; the fastest growing websites and sectors, seasonal trends and more.

Listen to the recording.

PAS 2020: Direct Marketing Environmental Performance Specification

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Events
Hitwise London Ad:Tech
September 22 - 23, 2009

Come visit us at stand #286 to see a demo of our latest tools.

Join us on Tuesday 22nd September from 12:30-1pm as Robin Goad, Hitwise UK Director of Research, looks at how the online retail market has performed so far in 2009, and tips for retailers in the run-up to this Christmas - including a look back to Christmas 2008, and the big winners and losers online.

For more information, please visit the Ad:Tech site.
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This monthly e-mail Newsletter is designed to provide Hitwise subscribers with analysis of new developments, industry trends and competitive activity. The powerful real-time web intelligence capabilities of Hitwise and a continual flow of additional research findings make this an indispensable business resource.

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