Mobile phone websites are the fastest growing online sector in terms of visits, followed by food and coupon sites, according to new research. The data, from The Nielsen Company looked at online sectors that have experienced the greatest growth in number of UK visitors from PCs/laptops over the last year.
Mobile phone websites was the fastest growing sector online with a 58 percent increase in Unique UK Visitors from 7.7 million in July 2008 to 12.2 million in July 2009. Almost all the top players in this sector experienced strong UK growth – particularly handset manufacturer Nokia (203 percent) and the networks Vodafone (91 percent) and O2 (79 percent).
The sector has also been boosted by services enabling consumers to recycle their mobile phone for cash. Envirofone.com experienced a 429 percent increase to almost 616,000 UK Uniques and Mazuma Mobile increased by 357 percent to over 400,000 UK Uniques.
One of the biggest contributors to the sector in terms of traffic growth is 118-800, the controversial directory service containing millions of UK mobile phone numbers.
The service caused a stir amongst privacy campaigners who promoted the main way of opting out of the database – through the website.
The 118-800 service didn’t launch until June 2009 but the following month it was the 111th most visited web brand in the UK with almost two million Unique UK Visitors.
Following closely behind mobile phones, the second fastest growing sector online is ‘Food and Cooking’ which saw a 58 percent increase from 6.7 million Unique UK Visitors in July 2008 to 10.5 million in July 2009.
Drinks brands such as Ribena, Baileys and Coca-Cola were a major factor in this sector’s growth.
The Ribena website grew from about 12,000 Unique UK Visitors in July 2008 to almost 950,000 in July 2009.
Baileys went from around 6,000 to 540,000 UK Uniques while Coca-Cola went from 164,000 to 678,000 UK Uniques – a growth of 313 percent.
Alex Burmaster, Communications Director, Nielsen’s Online Division, said: “Ribena’s huge growth is reminiscent to what we saw a year ago with Walkers Snack Foods. Walkers was the fastest growing brand online at the time due to their ‘Brit Trips’ promotion that offered discounts on British holidays and trips. The focus of Ribena’s website is collecting coupons for outdoor games and fun days out in the UK whilst the lion’s share of their traffic is down to their “Put your Wellies On” promotional competition offering UK cottage holidays.
FMCG brands are becoming increasingly savvy and successful at generating awareness and activity around their brand online by tapping into consumer trends – in this case, saving money through the domestic holiday or ‘staycation’.”
The theme of saving money is continued by the third and fourth fastest growing sectors – ‘Coupons/Rewards’ and ‘Insurance’.
The former grew by 55 percent from 7.0 million Unique UK Visitors in July 2008 to 10.9 million in July 2009.
Consumers save money by earning and redeeming reward points – though sites like Nectar that doubled its audience over the last year to 3.4 million UK Uniques – or by getting discount vouchers towards purchases, through sites like MyVoucherCodes.co.uk that also doubled their audience in a year to over 1.8 million UK Uniques.
Burmaster added: “One of the biggest movers in this sector has been Coca-Cola’s “Coke Zone” which offers rewards and prizes by collecting points from specially-marked bottles which can be redeemed online. The Internet wasn’t originally seen as a particularly relevant arena for FMCG brands – mantras such as people wouldn’t buy a can from a cola website – so this is another great example of how brands can bridge this divide and use the web to drive high-street purchasing.”
Saving money is also represented through the online Insurance sector – the fourth fastest grower over the last year (53 percent) in terms of UK Unique Visitors.
This has been driven by price comparison sites such as Compare the Market (573 percent growth), Confused.com (72 percent) and Go Compare (41 percent) – all of whom have undertaken heavy TV advertising campaigns focusing on how consumers can save money on insurance products by using their services.
The FMCG brands illustrated how product manufacturers whose sales are conducted almost entirely on the high-street are making greater inroads into the online medium.
This theme is continued with ‘Car Manufacturers’ – the joint-fifth fastest growing sector (along with ‘Auto Parts & Accessories) with 44 percent growth in UK Unique Visitors over the last year.
Car companies such as Fiat (210 percent growth), Renault (108 percent) and Volvo (238 percent) have been amongst the most successful at increasing visitors to their websites by providing a wide array of customer services beyond simply providing information about their cars. Visitors online can book test drives, order brochures, organise finance, locate dealers and even book an MOT or service.
Burmaster concludes, “Although saving money is a major theme across the fastest growing online sectors, the variety of sectors – from mobile phones to food and cooking, from automotive and health to technology and parenting – shows the diminishing areas of daily life that aren’t significantly being impacted or enhanced by the Internet. Strong growth online isn’t just about social media.”
Source: The Nielsen Company
Online sectors with greatest audience growth: UK
Number of Brits visiting mobile phone sites up 58% year-on-year, July 2008-09