Total UK retail search volumes grew 9% across all devices in the third quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter a year ago, with Smartphone traffic driving the lion’s share.
So finds the latest BRC-Google online retail monitor, which shows that the overall smartphone search growth for retail was 23% – far out stripping growth from online.
In the UK, Greater London saw the highest share of UK retail searches, with 27%, with North & Yorkshire in second place with 23%. Beauty was the most searched for sector by Non-EU overseas consumers on all devices, reporting growth of 21% in Q3 2017 and remains a popular sector for EU consumers on all devices, increasing 38% in Q3 2017.
Austria demonstrated the strongest year on year growth for UK retailers from the EU, reporting a 28% increase in the third quarter of 2017.
“The third quarter of 2017 saw higher volumes of online browsing activity, with smartphones driving the lion’s share of growth,” says Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium. “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.”
She continues: “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.”
Pointing to where growth for UK brands is coming from, Dickinson says: “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, Google adds: “Q3 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.”
He continues: “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.”