Seven out of ten UK consumers are spending upwards of ten minutes searching for promotional codes according to Uniqodo, equal to the average amount of time spent on retailers’ websites in the first place.

The research was carried out on 250 consumers, as well as opinions and insight from 25 senior representatives of retail sector businesses and interviews with a number of brands.

Despite the voucher code industry’s regular flak for poor user experience stemming from invalid or expired codes, the results suggest that the consumer’s desire to stake out a good discount is far from waning. On the contrary, two-thirds of consumers said they’d used voucher code sites to source a relevant offer within the past three months, while 44% claimed to use them more regularly than last year.

Meeting expectations?

While the report suggests a good discount is the way to a consumer’s heart, it reveals that retailers themselves are often struggling to satisfy today’s customer expectations, with 43% reporting that they will consciously avoid paying full price for products online.

On the side of the retailers, hesitance to discount stems from the obvious – reduced profit – while the potential for reputational damage to a brand’s status as a result of discounting was also cited as a pressing issue. However, just 17% of consumers confirmed that frequent discounts implied lower quality products.

While discount codes’ ongoing popularity can’t be denied, they are falling well behind other e-commerce marketing tools in regards to personalisation and innovation, according to Uniqodo’s co-founder, David Hall, who believes improvement on these fronts could help retailers regain some control.

“With retailers able to track their customers’ interests, actions and purchases in more granular detail than ever before, it’s interesting that promotional codes are one tool that has actually become less attributable since the days of printed vouchers,” said Hall.

“This challenge is something that marketers are all too aware of, and we believe that it’s only a matter of time before the balance begins to tip back and retailers reclaim control over promotional codes as a more strategic part of their toolkit.”