Total retail search volumes grew 15% in the second quarter of 2013 compared with the same quarter a year earlier.
Search volumes on tablet devices outpaced those on any other device, increasing 132% compared with growth on smartphone devices of 66%, according to new data.
The study, from the British Retail Consortium, indicates that total search volumes from UK consumers searching overseas retailers increased by 51% in Q2 compared with the previous year.
Total search volumes grew fastest for DIY & Gardening, up 32% year-on-year. DIY & Gardening also had the highest growth in search volumes on tablets and smartphones, up by 170% and 81% year-on-year, respectively.
Growth in search volumes on tablets and smartphones were at their highest on the weekend before the Wimbledon Championships.
Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “This quarter’s search data backs up the trends we have been seeing in the BRC’s Retail Sales Monitor, with increases in interest in clothing brands and garden products. As the weather has improved, these have been popular categories, and with the continuing increase in the use of mobile devices to perform these searches, we may well be seeing customers researching new wardrobe and garden purchases while outdoors enjoying the sunshine.
“These results also show the changes the internet is bringing to the international retail market. The considerable increase this month in the number of UK consumers searching overseas retailers show that barriers are increasingly being broken down. UK retailers are already responding well to these changes and will be keen to continue seeing equivalent increases in overseas customers searching them out.”
Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director, Google, said: “The second quarter saw strong sustained growth in retail queries. Traditionally this is a strong quarter for DIY & Gardening retailers, a trend we saw repeated this year, fueled by some fair weather and three bank holidays. Pureplay retailers in particular regained their growth, responding to the pressure of multichannel retailers in the online space. International interest remains a strong lever for our homegrown retailers with fast-growing regions such as South America and Asia providing much of this increase. UK interest in overseas brands however, has really peaked this quarter driven in particular by interest in US brands.
“The growing multi-screening phenomenon across the UK – where people use their connected devices whilst watching TV – is also reflected in the growth in queries coming from tablets and smartphones.”
Adam Stewart, Marketing Director at Rakuten’s Play.com believes that today’s BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor results provide further proof that the way consumers shop is changing:
“More people than ever are using tablets to discover and buy new items, and social networks to gain and share recommendations. In the past year, we have seen a 100% increase in shoppers using tablet and mobile devices to visit Rakuten’s Play.com and this now accounts for around 30% of all traffic. As the discovery shopping trend grows, social is playing an increasingly important role in retailers’ multi-channel strategies.”
“Whether browsing by tablet or mobile, consumers’ shopping decisions are being shaped by peer-to-peer conversations, shared content and recommendations. A big part of this engagement takes place on social networks and sharing sites. Whilst retailers should be offering a seamless shopping experience across numerous devices, it’s important to tap into social networks. This can amplify reach and further encourage discovery and entertainment shopping amongst consumers. It is the combination of the two – the device and the right channel – that is the route to effective selling in a multi-channel age.”