In the first quarter of 2013, total retail search volumes increased 16 per cent compared with a year earlier, driven by searches via tablet devices, according to new figures released today.
Retail search volumes on tablet devices soared 198 per cent over the period compared with the same period last year while searches via smartphone devices climbed 66 per cent, the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Google Online Retail Monitor revealed.
Homewares proved the most popular category as total search volumes grew 34 per cent year-on-year while homewares search volumes on tablets rocketed 236 per cent on Q1 2012, up 88 per cent year-on-year.
“These figures confirm how tablets and smartphones are becoming increasingly integral to the shopping experience for many of us, whether we’re at home or on the move, and from research to purchase,” said Helen Dickinson, BRC Director General.
“It’s easier than ever to compare prices and products online, and retailers are continuing to invest in their websites and their ‘omnichannel’ offer so that customers have choice, convenience and flexibility when they shop.
“The retail search data also closely mirrors the sales performance across different categories in March. It’s clear that the prolonged cold snap held many of us back from both browsing and buying new-season clothing lines until some sunshine arrived.
“But it was a strong month for searches and sales of homewares and furniture, as the Easter weekend got many of us thinking about Spring cleaning and home improvement.”
While the Easter break boosted volumes and saw consumers return to spending both on the high street and online, the January Sales saw total search volumes reach their highest level, as January 2nd and 20th saw the biggest peaks in online retail traffic.
Consumers also focused on international retailers over the quarter as total search volumes from UK shoppers searching overseas retailers jumped 18 per cent over the quarter compared with the previous year and Retail Director of Google Peter Fitzgerald said these results were indicative of a broader trend.
He said of the results: “This growth continues to be fuelled by the multi-device trend we are experiencing.
“Tablet queries grew nearly three times compared to the same period last year, whilst mobile traffic grew at 66 per cent.
“These are trends that will only continue into 2013 as more people own multiple devices. International interest is also proving invaluable to our UK retailers, with overseas searches for UK brands at 16 per cent growth, and particular interest from our American neighbours with searches up 75 per cent.”