New Year's resolutions, dryathlons and a December of indulgence are just some of the things that have spurred the nation on to start 2014 on a more productive, healthier and money-saving note. January is often the month to fully take the time to contemplate the future and get organised for the year ahead, and saving money is often on the agenda.
Cost-effective purchases can often be made online, and with people working longer and longer hours it seems Britain is a nation suited for online shopping. Supporting this are figures from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development showing Britain is the biggest online shopping nation in the developed world, with six out of ten adults using the Internet to buy everyday products including food, clothing, music or holidays. Christmas 2013 became a record breaking month for British online retailers as, according to The British retail Consortium, there was a 19.2% growth in Internet purchases compared with the previous year, the highest growth rate in four years.
January is the month of sales and the ideal time to bag a bargain, and consumers are increasingly looking for ways to save money when shopping both in-store and online. So how exactly can we ensure the best money saving deals are made?
Many Brits are looking for alternative ways of enjoying a bit of luxury after Christmas, and January doesn't need to be a month of super scrimping. While it seems like a strange time to make large purchases, January is in fact the optimum time to grab a bargain, stocking up on discounted gifts and decorations for the following year.
Electronics, sports equipment and furniture are just a few of the items that go on sale in January. The growth of online retailers means it's easier than ever to compare product prices and bag the best bargains and according to Metrics.com 66% of online shoppers believe they will get better prices here.
Know your high street - the rise of online shopping and home delivery
Christmas 2013 saw the trend for shopping online, rather than in-store, continue apace. Click & Collect orders were up 61.8% up on last year, and on Christmas Day traffic from mobile phones and tablets made up three quarters of total traffic, overtaking that from desktops by a considerable margin.
In order to pick up the best bargains, it's important to understand the trends within the market and the areas or periods where retailers are hoping to make the most sales. The newspapers cover retail news and trends every day, reporting on the rise and falls in retailers' profits and where businesses are heading. It's handy to catch up on this kind of news, so you'll know which shops or online marketplaces are likely to be cutting prices on the latest trendiest items.
The art of shopping savvy is not as tough to master as it may seem, and there are various tools and tips available to help you acquire both time and money saving skills. A great example is price comparison apps as they make bargain hunting a piece of pie for consumers:
Top five free apps to help you shop savvy:
• RedLaser: RedLaser is a barcode-scanning app for price comparisons. Users can scan a product to find out what it costs at nearby retailers. Consumers can also buy items directly from the app and pick them up in-store
• ShopSavvy: the barcode and QR scanner on this app shows users product details and price comparisons so they can decide whether to buy in-store or online. The app allows users to create lists of items you might want to buy later and set price alerts to find when a product has been marked down
• TheFind: Users can connect to TheFind with Facebook to set up a personalised shopping hub, saving their favourite stores and brands to their account and receiving alerts when their selected products go on sale. The app can be used to scan barcodes and receive price alerts and to share scanned and searched items with friends
• RetailMeNot: users of this app receive coupons and discounts from major retailers, such as H&M. The app can be used to take deals on the go and see what's trending. Users receive automatic alerts when there are promotions nearby
• ShopKick: shoppers can earn points, or "kicks", simply by walking into participating shops and earn more points by scanning and purchasing products. The kicks are redeemable for gift cards and other items such as free drinks from Starbucks. The app also shows users useful deals and bargains
With more high street retailers looking to capitalise on the growth of e-commerce and home delivery, consumers have the opportunity to search for the best bargains, comparing prices both online and in-store.