Pace of life, record levels of credit card debt, larger grocery bills and the general rise in the cost of living may be affecting the way consumers spend, according to the 2008 – User Behaviour Research Report, developed by Nielsen Online.

Over half of Australian shoppers (according to research by Australian Centre for Retail Studies) regularly use the internet to ‘pre-shop’, using sites such as to help make the decision on what they are going to buy and from which ‘bricks and mortar retailer’ – with price playing a major factor.

According to Lasoo’s User Behaviour Research the internet has changed how Australians shop. The research showed that close to two thirds of consumers who went to and subsequently purchased an item, saved approximately $20, while 15 per cent of users saved between $101 and $499 by visiting and being told about a sale.

“With household budgets tightening, more Australians are looking for ways to save both money and time with an increasing number of consumers turning to the internet to help them find ways to save,” said Salmat DigitalForce’s Paul Marshall. [Lasoo is a division of Salmat Ltd.]

“Increased petrol, food, rental and mortgage costs mean more Australians are modifying their spending habits. So it’s no wonder that the trend of pre-shopping is gaining momentum in Australia, and as the research shows, seems to be helping consumers save a few pennies.” 

The study also points to the emerging divide between the sexes shopping behaviour with 65 per cent of sale savvy females using Lasoo’s pre-shopping technology to identify a product at the cheapest possible rate versus 35 per cent of male counterparts.

Around the nation, New South Wales has emerged as the leader in the bargain hunting with 30 per cent of site users searching for the best price on any item. Trailing NSW is Victoria, with 25 per cent of users now consulting pre-shopping website to locate an item they wish to purchase. Third place goes to Queensland, with 21 per cent of users now looking to save on their purchases.

“Residents in the eastern states (76 per cent) and metro areas (69 per cent) are more inclined to use pre-shopping tools. Nevertheless it is encouraging to see the levels of households adopting pre-shopping habits which may allow the piggy bank a little sigh of relief,” said Marshall.