Online searches for UK-based discount vouchers have increased by 47.5 percent over the past year, says Hitwise.

According to the web traffic analyst, internet searches by Brits for the generic term 'voucher' have decreased. Instead web users are searching for specific vouchers, such as those issued by Pizza Express, Tesco and Pizza Hut.

"Vouchers offering everything from discounts at high-end retailers to 2-for-1 pizzas have become immensely popular in UK, as British consumers look for the best deals to save money during the recession," commented Robin Goad, director of research for Hitwise in the UK.

"Looking at the popularity of the searches for pizza restaurant vouchers in our data makes me wonder whether anyone has actually paid full price for a pizza in the UK this year!"

Hitwise also revealed that although traffic to dedicated voucher sites grew at the beginning of the recession, traffic has decreased by 5 percent over the last 12 months.

"Although the popular voucher websites remain significant players online, they no longer dominate the market," commented Goad.

Goad said this was because consumers have become wary of the more opportunistic voucher websites, which appear high up in the search engine results for voucher related terms but often contain out of date deals - or in some cases no relevant vouchers at all.

He also said that retailers were trying harder to pick up traffic from voucher searches directly, rather than pay for a link from a voucher website.

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

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