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Study Finds Where the Savviest Shoppers Live and What They’re Buying

Nov. 3, 2016
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Just about every online shopper has felt the angst of completing a purchase only to find out later that there was a better deal to be had. A new study shows that shoppers in some cities and states are better than others at avoiding those regrets by snagging online discounts through the use of coupons and discount codes.

NerdWallet partnered with Honey, a free browser extension that automatically finds and applies promo codes when users shop online. Looking at individual transactions over a period of several months, we found out how much of a discount shoppers in a state or city received on average when they use online coupons and what categories of goods they save the most on.

Among the states and census-designated places in the analysis, Manassas, Virginia, saved the most overall per transaction. Shoppers there also ranked the highest in savings on internet purchases, such as domain names. Two other places in Virginia, Arlington and Ashburn, ranked highest in discounts for photo purchases and children’s supplies, respectively.

New York City claimed the top spot in three different categories: home furniture and supply purchases; computers and electronics; and men’s clothing. Many of the top places in other categories were much smaller in population and spread across the South and the West.

A few categories offer greater discounts than others. Internet-domain purchases from companies like GoDaddy and education purchases from sites like Coursera and Chegg averaged discounts of 55.2% and 48.7% in their respective top-discount places; in contrast, the category of travel averaged a 10.1% discount in its top-discount city.

For this study, NerdWallet and Honey looked at average discounts per state and per census designated place, or CDP, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau; the top discount CDP in each state; the top CDP in each category; and the top category in each state. These measurements were taken with transactions from over 2 million Honey browser extension users. For additional details about the methodology, see the full report.