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Home and garden retail searches grew quickly over the summer: study

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Home and garden were among the fastest growing retail-related online searches over the summer, according to new data.

Total search volumes for the category grew by 15% between July and September, compared to the same time last year, as measured by the BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor. The third-quarter study also found search volumes carried out on smartphones outpaced those carried out on tablets. Smartphone searches grew by 41% on the same time last year, while tablet searches were up by 22%.

Growth in home and garden searches came as interest in mortgages rose.

“This month’s monitor confirms yet again that technology is playing an increasingly significant part in all aspects of consumers’ lives,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) . “Possibly one of the biggest decisions a consumer will make, taking out a mortgage, is now heavily influenced by online research with our data showing that online mortgage searches correlate strongly with mortgage approvals.

“Given this trend, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing people take to the internet to decorate and furnish their homes as well as finding the funds to purchase them. Search volumes in the home and garden category have risen 15% compared with the same period last year. This is likely due to an increasingly healthy housing market as sales in these categories tend to be directly impacted by house sales.

“It’s also interesting to note which devices customers are using to view which categories of product. Smaller items feature more significantly in the smartphone category while ‘beds’ top the list of searches across all devices. However, the further down rankings you go, the greater the mix of products. This suggests that consumers are becoming more and more comfortable searching for a wider variety of products on-the-go than has previously been the case.”

The fastest growing search category across all devices within home and garden was living room furniture. Lights and lighting, home decor and interior decorating saw the fastest growth on smartphones in the third quarter, while blinds, shades and shutters saw the fastest growth on tablets.

Peter Fitzgerald, retail director, Google , said: “Home and garden continues to be one of the fastest growing online retail sectors with 15% YoY growth in the third quarter. A warm July led to slower year-on-year growth but that changed in August when ex-hurricane Bertha came to the UK leading to a marked increase in home searches.

“The August bank holiday also brought an increase in home searches as the UK looked to home improvement over the last long weekend before Christmas. Furniture and furnishings were particularly popular this summer as we used the summer to redecorate. While garden searches grew slower this quarter – evidence of the early summer we had this year.”

Image: Argos launched an integrated campaign for its first ever power-brand, Heart of the Home, in August.

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