Retail search volumes surged 14 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012, driven by sales of tablet devices, data released today reveals.
Search volumes on tablets grew faster than any other device, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Google Online Retail Search Monitor, the first time that growth rates of both tablets and smartphones have been available.
Searches via tablets rocketed 238 per cent, while growth on smartphone devices reached 76 per cent.
In Q4, total search volumes grew fastest for homewares which saw growth of 28 per cent year-on-year while tablet growth was driven by clothing searches which leapt 273 per cent year-on-year.
Retail searches on Boxing Day more than doubled compared with Christmas Eve as savvy customers waited for the post-Christmas sales while overseas customers also boosted growth, with total search volumes up 25 per cent compared with a year earlier.
BRC Director-General Helen Dickinson said of the figures: “This strong growth shows how online retail really came of age this Christmas.
“Much of this growth is driven by the continuing surge in smartphone and tablet ownership.
“Tablet searches outpaced those on any other device and were particularly widespread on Boxing Day when many used them to get a head start on the sales.
“Searches from overseas to UK retailers’ sites also had a strong showing, up by 25 per cent on the fourth quarter of 2011.
“This really brings home the UK’s position at the forefront of international e-commerce, and highlights the increasing importance of having a foothold on the global stage.”
Following the recent collapses of well-known retailers, experts have warned of the growing significance of the online world and Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director at Google, believes that the dominance of online shopping over Christmas emphasises the importance of multichannel.
“I think Christmas 2012 will be remembered in the retail world as a particularly strong time for online. Not only did pure plays continue to do well, but those multichannel retailers who have embraced digital had strong performances in tough conditions
“2013 will be a difficult but exciting time and I look forward to the developments we will see as online’s presence in retail continues to grow.”