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Search data illustrates fast change in the way we shop

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The way UK shoppers look for the items they want to buy is developing fast, new figures suggest.

Data from Google and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show not only that total retail search volumes grew by 12% in the third quarter of 2013, compared to the same time last year, but that searches on tablet devices grew faster than any other device. Tablet-based searches grew by 100%, while smartphone searches were up by 58%, while desktop searches fell by 10%, the BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor showed.

“We’re again seeing strong growth for searches on tablets and smartphones, showing that these are playing an increasingly integral role in the customer journey,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium . Retailers are continuing to invest significantly in their multichannel offer, so that they can provide customers fast and user-friendly ways to browse and buy whether in-store, at home or on the move.”

Another interesting area of growth was in the search volumes from overseas customers looking for British retailers – up by 23% on last year in the third quarter. That figure stood at 16% growth in the previous quarter.

Dickinson said: “These figures highlight the strong foothold that UK retailers have on the international stage, and the major potential for further growth.

“The growth in global customers searching for UK retailers online is up by an impressive 23 per cent on the previous year and shows how the quality, range and accompanying service offered by ‘Brand Britain’ is something respected around the world. For the first time, we can also see which areas of UK retail rank most highly in these overseas searches, with clothing, beauty and department stores making up the top three.”

Peter Fitzgerald, retail director at Google , commented on the 23% growth, saying: “Our home-grown clothing brands and department stores are driving a lot of this growth followed by our beauty retailers. This is consistent with the international interest in UK luxury retailers that we have observed.”

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