Branded discount vouchers on the rise for bargain-hunting consumers

LONDON - Web searches for discount vouchers have increased nearly 50% over the past year as consumers research purchases of everything from restaurants to clothing.

According to research covering more than 4,500 search terms by Hitwise, discount vouchers hit the mainstream in the run up to Christmas, and the voucher market has continued to mature since.

Searches for generic terms such as 'discount vouchers' have decreased or remained flat. Traffic to specialist voucher websites has actually decreased by 5% as people search for more specific discounts from genuine online retailers.

Online retailers only picked up 28.2% of all UK Internet traffic from voucher searches during July 2008, but by 2009 that figure had increased to 41.5%.

Restaurants have benefited most from the growth in online vouchers over the last 12 months. UK Internet searches for restaurant vouchers have increased by 226.3% over the last 12 months, and pizza restaurants dominated the searches in the UK.

'Pizza express voucher' was the most popular branded voucher search. The only other company to have a branded voucher in the top 10 aside from restaurants was Tesco.

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