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Web searches take credit crunch theme

The value retailer Primark and the BBC's business editor, Robert Peston, are among a new list of increasingly popular internet searches, suggesting that Britons have become obsessed with economising.

Researchers found a clear credit crunch trend after comparing search engine queries made this year with those made in 2006.

Three years ago, people were looking up Armani suits, flight upgrades and buy-to-let mortgages, but in 2009 they are more interested in camping, debt advice and recipes for leftovers, according to research carried out by the search engine Ask Jeeves.

Cesar Mascaraque, managing director of Ask Jeeves Europe, said: "The net is a great barometer of what people care about. People are turning to search engines for answers to questions they would previously have asked friends or family."