The number of overseas shoppers using their smartphones to browse UK brands has soared over the last quarter.
New data from the British Retail Consortium and Google has revealed that UK beauty and apparel companies enjoyed the biggest rise in search volumes on mobile devices; with increases of 51% and 41% respectively between October and December 2015.
The statistics also show a decline in the use of tablets with search volumes having fallen by 12% and 21% for beauty and apparel respectively.
This was also the case for leisure-focused brands and department stores, which both saw a rise of 37% and 33% on smartphones but declines of 12% and 16% on tablets.
Christmas jumpers, Halloween costumes, wedding dresses and engagement rings were the most searched for items on retailers’ websites, while Halloween make-up and perfume topped the beauty list.
Spanish shoppers were found to be the most interested in buying from UK retailers with 62% having searched for UK businesses on mobile in October and December, followed by consumers in Hungary (57%) and Argentina (56%).
Helen Dickinson, chief executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “The final quarter of the year was very much a digital one. The internet played a vital role in driving sales for UK retailers, and, as has been the case for some time now, mobile devices were key to this. Among the ever expanding range of mobile devices used by the internet-savvy overseas shopper, smartphones continue to be the most popular. This was particularly the case for shoppers in India, where we saw an impressive 39% increase in smartphone use to search for UK brands. Russia and Brazil likewise saw a significant bump in consumers shopping with their phones. All three markets saw a contrasting decline in the use of online tablets to search for UK goods.
“Among growing markets like Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, UK retail searches from mobile phones similarly soared in December, with only Mexico showing an increase in consumers using their tablets to shop online for UK goods.”
Martijn Bertisen, retail director, Google, said: “In the UK, this Christmas was truly mobile. Over half of searches came from mobile devices during peak periods, and our retailers have felt the effects posting incredible mobile revenue growth this year. Outside the UK mobile is also playing an increasingly important role.
“Across many Western countries we have seen high mobile growth, from mature nations such as the US and Germany, through to Hungary and Poland. However in Asian countries that growth has slowed. In 2014 we saw strong mobile growth from our Eastern neighbours – classically early mobile adopters – and we can see the impact of that now.”
Analysis: Infrastucture key to cope with international influx
Dyn research also revealed that over half (56%) of UK shoppers believe that the key to improving the overall ecommerce experience is for brands to provide the same quality experience, on computers, on mobile and in the store, many large retail brands have clearly made huge advances in offering an improved shopping experience from smartphones and tablets, leading to increased time browsing and further sales.
Paul Heywood, Managing Director and VP of EMEA, Dyn, said: “It’s no surprise that consumers around the globe are increasingly turning to their mobile devices when browsing brands online. As mobile devices become further embedded in our lives, online shopping is quickly spreading from desktops to mobile-friendly websites and apps. But Dyn research has revealed that two thirds of Brits expect the same quality and speed of performance on mobile as on their computers. Therefore, given that the number of shoppers overseas are using their smartphones to browse UK brands is only increasing, delivering an excellent consumer experience online through mobile channels has never been more important.
“There is a huge opportunity to tap into the mobile market. The demand is there and today, consumers want a trouble-free, efficient shopping and browsing experience: they expect to be able to make purchases or use services immediately and seamlessly, whether on a computer, on a mobile device or on-premises. Businesses must therefore ensure that their digital infrastructure is working properly, regardless of demand, geography or time.
In order to provide every customer across the globe with an exceptional customer experience in the increasingly digital market, businesses must ensure a well-executed technology strategy is in place to support the company’s ability to monitor, control and optimise online infrastructure. Only then can they guarantee their online solutions will be consistently available, efficient, secure and reliable. Internet Performance Management is an essential consideration and must be a priority for those global businesses hoping to engage with consumers via mobile, both in the UK and abroad.”