|Upmarket shoppers turn to eBay|
Daily Mail reports upmarket shoppers bag eBay bargains as credit crunch forces rich to keep up appearances online
For the fashion-conscious, a recession should never get in the way of looking good.
And the rich who became slightly poorer in the past couple of years have found a rather less exclusive alternative to shopping in their favourite top-end stores - using an internet auction site.
A study indicates a massive surge in homeowners from affluent areas using eBay as a way of keeping up appearances.
The auction site's own research shows that an increasing number of shoppers who live in expensive areas are using the site to buy cut-price items for their wardrobes.
Demand for high-quality handbags, black dresses, coats and shoes has soared by more than 300 per cent.
eBay Fashion Outlet, the fashion section of the auction site, is used by big-name clothing and retailers such as Karen Millen, Ted Baker and Dune to clear stock swiftly at low prices.
A spokesman said: 'Many of these people would previously have paid full price for their clothes from some of the most expensive retailers. Now, they need to shop on a budget.
'We're seeing the emergence of a new breed of reduced wealth shoppers.
'They're still flaunting the labels - but keeping the price tag quiet.'
The study analysed the increasing number of people using eBay who live in postcodes which have some of the Britain's most expensive houses.
Purchases from areas where the very richest people live - Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Chelsea - have remained relatively unchanged.
However, the picture changes significantly in the next economic tier down.
The increased use of eBay Fashion Outlet since its launch in April has emerged most strongly in affluent areas of London including Fulham, Wandsworth, Clapham and Putney.
Wealthy areas in Leeds, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff are also showing the same trend.