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IRUK Top500 The Customer Report: 2018

IRUK Top500 The Customer Report: 2018

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Overseas shoppers show growing interest in UK retail

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Overseas shoppers are showing growing interest in what UK retail has to offer, the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) suggest.

Retail searches from overseas grew by 57% in the first quarter of 2012, compared to the same period last year, according to today’s BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor. That’s well ahead of the 11% total growth in retail-related searches that the monitor detected during the period.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said the figures showed the potential importance of exports to the UK retail sector. He said: “Internet search traffic from developing countries like Mexico and Pakistan has more than doubled. These statistics demonstrate the growth potential of online for UK retailers and the part retail can play in building a recovery based on exports, given the right conditions and a genuinely free-trade world market place."

Peter Fitzgerald, retail director at Google, said the figures showed the importance of an international presence for retailer brands. The highest growth came from Mexico, with growth of 135%, while searches from Pakistan rose by 101%. “Interest also grew in the BRIC countries," said Fitzgerald.

The other big trend to emerge from the monitor was evidence that shoppers on tight budgets are researching their purchases on the internet to make sure their money is going as far as it can.

Searches for both food and drink and health and beauty items grew by 21%, while mobile searches for food and drink grew by 172%. In total, the number of searches taking place on mobile and tablet devices grew by 132% in the quarter.

"Squeezed household budgets mean customers are turning more and more to the internet to research what they're buying and look for best value,” said Robertson. “Being able to check competitors' goods and prices while they're in a store is a big part of the continuing boom in retail searches via mobiles and tablets. It's a sign of these tough times that this isn't restricted to major purchases – the biggest growth in mobile retail searches is on food and drink as people compare different offers.”

Fitzgerald said: “"The first quarter of 2012 provided more evidence of the growing importance of mobile. While overall retail queries grew 11% year-on-year, mobile experienced exponential growth, growing 132% year-on-year in the first quarter. Mobile retail queries as a percentage of total retail queries also followed a similar trajectory, more than doubling from 8% in Q1 2011 to 17% in Q1 2012. The busiest days online, overall and on mobile, for Q1 2012 came in the first few days of January as customers searched for bargains and post-Christmas discounts in the January sales period.”

Peter Fitzgerald, retail director at Google, said: "The first quarter of 2012 provided more evidence of the growing importance of mobile. While overall retail queries grew 11% year-on-year, mobile experienced exponential growth, growing 132% year-on-year in Q1. Mobile retail queries as a percentage of total retail queries also followed a similar trajectory, more than doubling from 8% in Q1 2011 to 17% in Q1 2012.

“The busiest days online, overall and on mobile, for Q1 2012 came in the first few days of January as customers searched for bargains and post-Christmas discounts in the January sales period.”

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