In 2020 alone, 175 million purchases were made by British consumers via affiliate websites – totalling a staggering £15.4 billion. In total, £16.5 billion was spent on affiliate marketing and lead generation activities in the UK that year, meaning a 14% year-on-year growth.
That trend is continuing at real pace with cashback websites more frequently utilised by UK consumers than ever before. In fact, more than two-thirds (67%) of consumers surveyed by a YouGov study said that they used cashback affiliate schemes at least once a month.
Put simply, it's derived from homeowners' and families' desire to save money and spend what they have more efficiently. More than one-fifth (21%) of YouGov survey respondents said they look to save money on their holidays and travel online and seek further information. Other popular areas consumers are keen to save money include energy bills (16%) and car insurance (15%).
This increasingly ingrained desire to find the best possible deal and make money go further has simply led to affiliate marketing being ingrained as part of the modern-day savvy consumerism.
Tim Elkington, chief strategy officer, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK, said: “Britons generate 20 million clicks every day in pursuit of getting a better deal or finding the right product – it's an utterly ingrained part of today's savvy consumerism.
“To put it in context, at £17bn it's already as big as the beauty industry. The majority of people online say they're aware how these sites make money, and while the privacy debate continues, the reality is that nearly half are willing to share personal information [online] to get these things.”
With such a fast-growing industry and desire for attractive deals through affiliate marketing, consumer protection against fraud remains one of the highest priorities to cement the industry's position within the consumer landscape.
Merchants who prioritise fraud prevention and detection will almost certainly experience the most financial benefit from their affiliate marketing partnerships.
The need for consumer protection in the UK affiliate market is even greater now, given that the sector has experienced a dramatic upsurge in activity from mobile and tablet devices. Advertiser spend on mobile and tablets increased by a whopping 72%. As a result, the share of affiliate spend allocated to smartphone devices grew hugely
“Advertisers are heavily increasing Online Performance Marketing (OPM) spend on mobile because it's playing a bigger role in shopping,” added Elkington.
“Half of adult smartphone owners buy something with their mobile every month, a quarter do so weekly.”
Affiliate networks across the country work tirelessly with businesses to become an extension of their brands; making a conscious effort to understand the commercial goals while utilising data and performance insights to get their products and services in front of the right customer demographic.