Shoppers are making ever-more online searches for retail products, with the international focus on sectors including beauty and clothing, new analysis suggests.
The latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor found that UK retail search volumes were up by 9% across all devices in the third quarter of 2017, compared to the same period last year.
Some 27% of all searches from the UK were in greater London, with 23% coming from North Yorkshire. International shoppers also browsed for UK retail products. Searches for beauty grew by 38% among EU consumers, while interest in UK products grew fastest in Austria (+28%).
Non-EU overseas shoppers also searched for beauty (+21%) products.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium , said: “The third quarter of 2017 saw higher volumes of online browsing activity, with smartphones driving the lion’s share of growth. This is consistent with the double digit growth seen in online non-food sales over the past couple of months, with the online penetration rate in September reaching its highest since January. The relentless march of mobile activity reflects the significant innovation and investment from retailers to make their offer to on-the-go customers ever more convenient.
“Beauty and clothing brands continue to attract the most interest from both overseas and UK consumers, which kept the categories firmly at the top of the growth rankings. At home, festivities over the summer months and into Autumn, spurred a flurry of searches online for clothing, with wedding dresses and Halloween outfits high up on the shopping agenda.
“Some of the most significant growth came from searches for UK brands from consumers in the Baltic and Balkan states. The extension of internet access in these rapidly developing countries presents retailers with an ideal opportunity to expand their outreach and boost overseas sales.”
Martijn Bertisen, retail director at Google , said: “The third quarter saw continued growth in retail searches, as the UK continues to turn online to research their shopping decisions and make purchases whether online, or in-store. In turn, retailers are increasingly embracing technology that allows them to meet consumers’ expectations of seamless shopping experiences, enabling fulfilment online or directing shoppers to their nearest stocked store.
“Looking to the EU, growth rates remain strong across the region. In particular, we saw sustained growth from Eastern European nations, as they benefit from increased internet accessibility via smartphone penetration. Across the region, we saw particular demand for British beauty and apparel retailers, a trend we also saw at home as well. This is a trend to watch in the coming months as we head into peak gifting season, aware that consumers’ are more empowered than ever before to find the best products, deals and service when planning Christmas.”