Where Are Consumers Comparison Shopping?

With the economy sagging, consumers will likely slow down their spending. While it doesn't mean people will stop shopping altogether, it's a good bet that consumers will start looking for better deals on the products they want and need. Couple our current economic crisis with rising gas prices and brick-and-mortar stores might take a hit this holiday shopping season. That also means that online retailers could see an uptick in usage. If that's the case, you need to know where consumers will shop and look for deals online.

Let's take a look at five popular comparison shopping sites and how they stack up against one another. Below you will see a chart from Google Trends for Websites, an approximation from Google as to traffic levels on these sites:

This should give you an indication of where you might want to target your products for the best chance of them being found by your consumers. And keep an eye out for Ciao.com - the Munich, Germany-based comparison shopping site is being purchased by Microsoft and reports more than 26 million unique visitors per month.

Another way consumers will look to cut their spending is by maximizing the value on every online purchase. Coupon sites and coupon code sites have gained in usage lately. Here, people can look for products or retailers and find coupons or codes to enter at a checkout page for instant discounts. Many of these sites feature discounts from the retailers, but also feature coveted user-generated content and recommendations. Consumers are finding these sites more frequently, and beginning to use them. Below (via Google Trends) is a look at five of these popular sites.

As you can see, CoolSavings.com and Coupons.com are the leaders. You should be making every effort to get listed in these sites, along with some others. Now take a look at the below chart from Compete.com, comparing traffic levels from CouponCabin.com, RetailMeNot.com and Coupons.com. As you can see, it appears that while the economy slows, these discount finding sites grow. Now is the perfect time to get in. And keep an eye out on RetailMeNot.com. This site features a user-generated feel - so much so that you get the feeling that you're sneaking one past the retailers. That may be part of the reason this site has seen a 327% growth in traffic from last year.