Daily discount deals get €53m boost from internet shoppers
SPENDING on daily deals websites grew by 15pc last year, with Irish shoppers forking out €53m on them.
Cut-price hair removal, hotel stays, computers, suits and skydives proved the most popular buys.
The interest in deals websites made them one of the few retail sectors to thrive last year.
Irish customers grab almost 4,500 deals a day, with Tuesday the most popular day to buy, according to figures from comparison site mydealpage.ie.
Deals sites, of which there are more than 40 in Ireland, allow customers to buy products and services at a cut-price rate for a limited time.
The most popular sites are Groupon, LivingSocial, Pigsback and GrabOne, which is owned by Independent News & Media.
The deals market, which was only introduced to Ireland in mid-2010, has taken the country by storm, with spending of €11m in 2010 soaring to €46m in 2011 and €53m last year, said mydealpage.ie founder Charles Maltha. Shoppers last year nabbed discount deals that saved them €95m.
Spending on deals tends to be overlooked by most retail reports, but it is helping to drive a shift to online buying while actually benefiting high street retailers, said Mr Maltha.
"Where most online shops take customers away from the high street, the daily deals market drives customers into hotels, restaurants, beauty salons and other businesses," he added.
Many customers also went on to spend more than the original voucher they had bought.
Around 1.6 million deals were bought last year at an average discount of 58pc.
The most popular offers are restaurant vouchers – consumers bought 1,000 a day last year. Most money, though, was spent on accommodation – €13.7m.
Beauty services and products account for a quarter of all deals. A fifth of deals are bought via a smartphone or tablet, and there has been a shift in the times for shopping online, with many bargain hunters buying from their phones while watching TV in the evening.
Deals sites have attracted criticism, with some consumers facing difficulty in redeeming vouchers, while one beauty treatment deal turned out to be for a salon that did not exist.
However, deals firms looked after customers and refunded them if there was a problem, said Mr Maltha.