Are we coming out of recession ? While not out of the woods yet, it appears that we are on the road to recovery, according to consumer indicators released by Voucher Pages today with the top 5 Shopping Trends in the first quarter of 2014.
1. The Savvy Celtic Tiger Shoppers
Has the extravagant frivolous spending of years gone by been replaced by a nation of bargain hunters! I can hear the Celtic Tigers may shriek “OMG Noooo”! While the final quarter and Christmas period has traditionally been a very strong period for online shopping and discount seekers, Voucher Pages has seen consumer spend remain strong throughout the first quarter of this year with an increase in both overall user numbers and consumer spend in Q1 2014 from Q4 2013 with sales of technology, electronics and home improvement performing very well. This is a key indicator that shoppers appear to be spending more, and that consumers are getting more savvy with their cash by looking for the best value.
2. Staycation and Vacation likes its 2006!
With our love of all weather-related talk and natural bronze complexions, is it any surprise that consumers are taking advantage of special offers available in the first quarter of the year with a spike in hotel and holiday bookings in January.
Following a 23% increase in hotel bookings in December 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, this growth has continued into 2014 with a further 26% increase in hotel and accommodation searches in January. Is this a sign that some households are coming out of recession?
3. New Year’s Resolutions
We are a nation of fitness freaks and gym bunnies, yeah! Maybe not but we have good intentions. There has been a 45% growth in searches for health and fitness vouchers in the first quarter of 2014 with people looking for gyms, fitness classes and health treatments to get those beach bodies back into shape. While people exercising more in the early part of the year may not be a shock, such strong growth indicates that gym goers really do want a deal to sign up for membership.
4. Come Dine with Masterchefs
Suppressed by austerity measures for far too long, consumers are spending on food and drink but doing so on a budget. While January would normally be a quiet month to recover from the Christmas excesses, Voucher Pages have surprisingly seen a 30% increase in restaurant and takeaway coupon redemptions in the first quarter of 2014.
5. Bargain Basement Fashionistas
Turns out fashion lovers did not want to wait for the January sales this year, or is it a smart move on the part of retailers! Last year, we saw a trend of clothes shoppers waiting until January to make purchases but this has reversed during the 2013/2014 festive period with shoppers making their purchases earlier. There were 20% more fashion and clothing shoppers using Voucher Pages in the final stages of 2013, as opposed to January. Many retailers are now starting their Winter sales in December and it appears to be paying off with very strong December clothing sales results.