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Mobile searches outstrip PC, especially for clothes, BRC-Google Q1 monitor finds

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Mobile is outstripping traditional PCs when it comes to searching for retail goods, with clothes and fashion leading the way, finds the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor Q1 2015.

According to Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium: “The latest BRC-Google figures show that UK consumers are making greater use than ever of handheld devices to shop online, particularly where it comes to buying clothes. The number of people using their smartphone to search for apparel is up by 54% compared to year ago, while tablet searches over the same period are up by 11%.

Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director, Google , adds: “Mobile continues to drive growth in the UK and this remains the case with apparel in the first quarter of the year. Interestingly, emerging markets still see strong growth from tablets, however smartphones supercharge growth for overseas consumers of UK brands.”

Multichannel retailers had a strong Q1, growing at 42% year on year. This reflects the increasing trend in the UK toward click-and-collect services. Consumers value the convenience of in-store collection – particularly for apparel – the ability to easily return goods to store.

The New Year also saw an increase in sports and fitness clothes searches as people turn over a new leaf and focus on their health, says Fitzgerald. “Looking at the top queries we can see that wedding season is under way with engagement rings and wedding dresses trending on mobile devices.”

British shoppers are also increasingly looking abroad as well as at home to buy their clothes, with a 9% rise in consumers searching online for overseas clothes retailers. This trend also applies however to shoppers abroad with a 10% rise compared to last year in the number of consumers in other countries searching online for UK apparel.

Steve Rivers, CEO of Intelligent Reach, a product level marketing, data quality and performance company, with clients including House of Fraser, Halfords, Very and Superdry, offers a note of caution.

“In line with changing consumer behaviour, online retailers must optimise every product to accommodate mobile usage, as well as taking advantage of online marketplaces which are already internationalised and optimised for overseas sales,” he says.

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