E-commerce emerges as the economic sector that has best withstood the downshifting in consumption involving Italy. The growth of e-commerce is fostered by the spreading of the on line outlets, that offer, at a heavily discounted price, mostly clothing and accessories; by the skyrocketing diffusion of on line couponing sites, allowing people to have access, at a bargain price, to local services; and, last but not least, by the rapid spread of smartphones. The aim of the paper is to understand if the phenomenon of on line couponing is the effect of a new way of being consumers, i.e to be individuals who use their skills to enact strategies that allow them to limit their downsizing, to live new experiences and to recover a rational approach to consumption, thus affirming through consumption acts their social belonging. The paper discusses results emerging from an exploratory analysis, conducted through on line focus groups, on a sample of 21 consumers (15 women and 6 men), aged between 25 and 45 years, all buyers of on line coupons.
Keywords: E-commerce, on line coupon, focus group, economic crisis, consumption, internet