October 29th is the date that the Treasury has set for this year’s Autumn budget, when the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, will announce his plans for tax and spending changes. With the budget just around the corner and Christmas looming, this month UKOM looks at the online services which can help consumers tighten their belts and grab a bargain during the festive season. How big are they and who uses them?

The success of MoneySavingExpert (MSE) Martin Lewis’s ad-free site, bought by Money Supermarket for £87m in 2012, is well documented. According to latest data from UKOM approved Comscore, 9.4 million adults used the service in the last month – that’s 1 in 5 of the UK Online adult population. Females are much more likely to visit MSE than males (26.5% v 16.9%) and people from higher social grades AB are more likely to seek advice than those from lower social grades DE (28.2% v 16.1%). Highlighting the latest shopping deals and freebies is a big focus of MSE. It appeals to thrifty consumers, 81% of whom also turn to coupon and voucher sites before making a purchase.

In the UK, 50% of the digital adult population visited an online coupon or voucher service in August 2018 and there are a lot to choose from: Comscore reports on over 60 sites in the category in its latest UK data release. Groupon, the leading service, alone reaches 10 million adults each month with visitors spending on average 20 minutes looking for deals. HotUKdeals (6.1m), Wowcher (4m) and Vouchercodes (3.4m) also have significant audiences. The profile of those using coupon sites is similar to MoneySavingExpert’s. Females (61%) are much more likely to visit than males (38%) and 25-54 year olds are more likely to use them than younger audiences (35% for 18-24s v 56% for 25-54). 

 

21.4 million adults used coupon websites and services in August 2018 but past data would suggest that Britons’ use of money-saving online services is only likely to increase in the coming months. For the last 3 years, November has seen a significant increase in unique visitors for the category. Comparing August 2017 with November 2017 could give us an indication of what November 2018 might look like. Last year, the overall category unique visitors were up by 25% - with Groupon (+38%), Vouchercodes (+37%) and Wowcher (+31%) all having audiences around a third higher. There are so many online discount codes that it can take time to find the best deal but there are even online solutions for time-poor UK consumers. In addition to the many coupon sites, there are now browser extension services such as Honey which search the web for codes and automatically apply any that work at checkout.

Black Friday on 23rd November will once again see many brands offering deals to entice shoppers but grabbing a bargain doesn’t have to be limited to one day. The online voucher and coupon services offer money-saving opportunities which benefit millions every month.

It remains to be seen what Philip Hammond has in store for us all on 29th October but with Brexit creating uncertainty and Christmas fast approaching, the array of discount codes and money off vouchers easily accessible online could be a bit of good news for UK consumers.

 

Notes on Data:

All UK data is based on UKOM industry standard and development level approved Comscore MMX Multi-Platform data. Comscore MMX Multi-Platform includes desktop browsing, desktop video streams, smartphone browsing & apps, tablet browsing & apps.

Data is based on 18+ online unique visitors. 

The Coupon category is as defined by Comscore under Services – Coupons.

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