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Consumers broaden search

Consumers broaden search

UK online retail sales are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12% through 2012, according to the 2007 JupiterResearch Internet Shopping Model. Affiliate Marketing specialist LinkShare today announces an exclusive report into the UK’s online retail market, in association with analyst house JupiterResearch. The report examines the changes in online buying behaviour, as consumers react to the struggling economy by becoming more diligent in search of the best deals online, and reveals the best way for online retailers to respond to the changing market.

Out of 1,000 online consumers surveyed, 63% believe they face tough financial times ahead. In this difficult environment, online consumers plan to reduce their overall spending in the next 12 months.  However offline rather than online spending will see the greatest drop with 56% of consumers planning to decrease their offline spending compared to 46% who intend to lower their online spending.

In fact, online consumers point to the internet as a means of saving money in this economy.  Online consumers said they would spend more time searching online for the best deals, with more than a third (39%) planning to undertake further research online to ensure they get the best prices. UK consumers’ online purchase decisions are influenced by a number of different online resources as 95% visit at least two websites before making their purchases. In addition, peer reviews are an important resource for online buyers, with 45% saying they use consumer review sites to research and purchase both on and offline products.

It seems that retailers and publishers have several opportunities to interact with online shoppers and affect their habits.  Regular promotions and incentives have a strong influence on the purchase decisions of online consumers. 45% of online buyers said regular promotions are influential in their decisions to return to an online seller they have purchased from in the past. Loyalty schemes or cash back sites also have a significant impact on purchasing behaviour, with one in three (34%) online buyers citing these sites as influential in their online purchasing decisions.

The findings also highlighted the importance of a valuable UK online shopper segment: the Online Luxury Shopper, who remains comparatively immune from the credit crunch. Making up 12% of online consumers, Online Luxury Shoppers make a point of buying luxury products and are happy to pay more for designer labels. Online Luxury Shopper are among the most engaged and influential online shoppers.

Most importantly, Online Luxury Shoppers are expected to drop online spending by only 1.5% overall this year, compared to the 4.9% average, making them an important target for online retailers.  These shoppers are also more responsive to retailer and affiliate promotions than online buyers overall. 56% say their online purchase decisions are influenced by special reward sites such as cash back sites and loyalty scheme sites, with over half (51%) influenced by promotional offers they saw on search engines.  In fact 45% of Online Luxury Shoppers claimed that they often make unplanned online purchases as a direct response to a promotion or offer, compared to just 22% of all internet users.

Liane Dietrich, UK Managing Director at LinkShare said of the report: “Consumer awareness of the troubled economic climate has created a new playing field in the competition for online business.  As spending slows down, vouchers, promotions and loyalty schemes are becoming a key tactic in driving online sales. The competition for shoppers is going to be fierce, with retailers needing to pursue them through multiple online channels to become a part of their purchase consideration.

Marketers, retailers and affiliates must recognise the changing online retail landscape, and use new and innovative tactics to attract and engage a more savvy and demanding online shopper in the face of a struggling economy.”


LinkShare UK

The LinkShare Corporation provides ecommerce businesses with a wide range of online marketing services including Search Marketing (SEM), Lead Generation and Affiliate Marketing.

LinkShare UK launched in 2006. It is now one of the UK’s leading affiliate marketing networks, with a unique network of quality publishers. In the last 18 months LinkShare has partnered with over 80 brand advertisers in the UK including well-known names from the retail and travel sectors such as AVON, British Airways, Cath Kidston, Figleaves, French Connection, House of Fraser, Links of London,, Space NK, The White Company and Uniqlo.

LinkShare is dedicated to bringing future technology to today’s market and to enabling both advertisers and publishers to create tracking links through new channels and with new rich media options. Uniquely in the affiliate market, LinkShare’s patented tracking technology has never relied on pixels or cookies.

Advertisers can increase their online sales by leveraging LinkShare's massive performance marketing network along with expert consultative services and patented technology. Superior service combined with technology innovation allows advertisers and publishers to acquire and retain new customers, increase revenue and drive results.

LinkShare was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in San Francisco, Chicago, London and Tokyo.  LinkShare is a division of Rakuten, Inc.

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