Economic Downturn Shifts Consumer Spending to the Web for Deals

Economic Downturn Shifts Consumer Spending to the Web for Deals’s economic survey series reveals 89 percent of consumers are still cutting back on spending

Los Angeles, Calif., July 30, 2008®, a part of Experian, explores the effects the economy has had on consumer purchasing decisions in its latest Consumer Behavior Report. Statistics were collected through three surveys conducted from late March to late June and included responses from a total of 7,170 online shoppers. By asking online shoppers how they spent their tax refunds and their economic stimulus checks and how they have been saving money over the past three months, got an inside look at how consumers have been affected by the economy.

Consumers continue to cut back on spending
The state of the economy and growing inflation has taken a toll on everyday consumer spending. Whether it is grocery shopping, retail shopping, gas or energy, consumers continue to cut back. In a survey of 3,359 online shoppers conducted from April 29 to May 23, 56 percent of respondents indicated that they are cutting back because of the weak economy and growing inflation. Forty-two percent of respondents indicated retail shopping as the primary category in which they are reducing spend. More than one-third of respondents indicated that their top money-saving trick for retail shopping is the use of comparison shopping Web sites. Other ways consumers are reducing their retail spending is through discount and bargain shopping and using low-interest credit cards or cash.

“It is clear that consumers continue to make cutting back a priority,” said Ron LaPierre, president of “Our site remains committed to helping shoppers make smart purchases and save money. New features like Product of the Day aim to help them find unique daily deals during a time when cost-saving is particularly important.”

Tax refund used to pay off debt
From March 25 to April 19, 1,328 online shoppers were surveyed to find out how they plan to use their tax refund and if a potential economic recession impacted their decision. Survey results indicated that of the 65 percent of respondents who plan on spending their tax refund, 45 percent plan to use that money on an existing loan. Of the respondents applying their refund to a loan, 68 percent indicated a credit card as that loan. Even with concern about an unstable economy, 22 percent of tax refund spenders indicated using the refund for home improvement and 11 percent for a vacation.

Economic stimulus checks provide another way to pay off debt
Despite government efforts to increase consumer spending through the economic stimulus program, the June survey of 2,483 online shoppers revealed that 89 percent of respondents are still cutting back. Similar to the results of the April tax refund survey, more than one-third of consumers who indicated they spent their economic stimulus checks used them to pay off debt. Thirty-one percent of online consumers spent their checks on retail shopping. Of those who spent their stimulus checks, 27 percent bought one large item and 25 percent spent the money immediately on multiple items. will continue to track online shopping trends and market shares in the coming months. To view the full Consumer Behavior Report, which includes additional statistics from all three surveys as well as traffic history from, please visit

About, part of Experian, has established itself as one of the most trusted and effective online comparison shopping services, allowing approximately 26 million consumers each month to search and compare information that enables them to find the right product from the right retailer at the best price. Through continued innovation and a consistent focus on providing the best comparison shopping experience on the Internet, provides savvy shoppers access to millions of unique products and services from thousands of retailers and sellers in 25 product channels. The company also powers comparison shopping functionality for a network of leading Internet sites, including MSN Shopping, AOL Shopping,, iVillage, Comcast and CNET. The company offers comparison shopping in English (at, Spanish (at and Portuguese (at as well as international sites in Canada and the United Kingdom. is headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. PriceGrabber is a registered trademark, and and BottomLinePrice are trademarks of, Inc., a Delaware corporation. Other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

About Experian plc
Experian plc is a global leader in providing information, analytical and marketing services to organisations and consumers to help manage the risk and reward of commercial and financial decisions.

Combining its unique information tools and deep understanding of individuals, markets and economies, Experian partners with organisations around the world to establish and strengthen customer relationships and provide their businesses with competitive advantage.

For consumers, Experian delivers critical information that enables them to make financial and purchasing decisions with greater control and confidence. Clients include organisations from financial services, retail and catalogue, telecommunications, utilities, media, insurance, automotive, leisure, e-commerce, manufacturing, property and government sectors.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index.  It has corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and operational headquarters in Costa Mesa, California and Nottingham, UK.  Experian employs approximately 15,500 people in 38 countries worldwide, supporting clients in over 65 countries around the world. Continuing sales for the year ended 31 March 2008 were $4,059m (£2,020m / €2,858m)

For more information, visit the Group’s Web site on

The word ‘Experian’ is a registered trademark in the EU and other countries and is owned by Experian Ltd. and/or its associated companies.

Michelle Kane
1 310 954 1040, ext. 289 Telephone Email

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