Overseas shoppers hunted for UK fashion items via their smartphones in the first three months to this year, while UK shoppers were most interested in beauty, new data suggests.
The BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor for the first quarter of 2018 found double digit growth in searches for UK brands from outside the UK. The strongest growth within the EU came from Italy, at 31%. Outside the EU, international mobile searches were 13% ahead.
The categories that benefited the most were fashion, in international searches, while beauty saw the highest growth for both UK mobile users (+10%) and for non-EU overseas searches (+22%).
Searches originating from the North and Yorkshire accounted for more than a quarter (26%) of all searches, while London searches accounted for 23%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said the findings pointed to the continuing growth of online shopping.
"Online retail search activity maintained its growth trajectory into 2018 reflecting a continued consumer trend to shop online," she said. "Fashion saw the highest growth in search, as international consumers sought out UK fashion brands online, with beauty also seeing high search activity from UK based consumers. We can expect online retail search activity to maintain this upward growth trend as retailers continue to invest in improving their online offering for consumers."
Google’s retail director, Martijn Bertisen, said: ""As in most years, Q1 represents a ‘cooling off’ period after the Christmas retail peak: with retail activity lower than Q4, but still higher in most categories compared to earlier quarters. Retail activity overall was up compared to the same period last year, due in part to the ‘Beast from the East’ at the end of February; no doubt as many stayed indoors connected to their devices. Mobile continues to drive growth in the industry, especially in categories, like home and garden, where its impact has until now been felt more gradually."