Rise in overseas searches from tablets and smartphones, says BRC/Google


British retailers are in a strong position to capitalise on the growing online export market after searching surges were seen from four key export markets in Q4 2013.

There was a 231 per cent rise in German smartphone searches for UK brands and a 78 per cent jump in French tablet searches for UK retailers. Smartphone searches from the USA rose 52 per cent while tablet searches rose 47 per cent in the Netherlands.

An across the board rise was seen in smartphone/tablets searches in the Apparel, Home & Garden, Beauty, Leisure and Department store sectors. Department stores saw the strongest jump of 78 per cent on smartphones and 46 per cent of tablets in overseas markets.

Britain is now the world‘s second largest online retail exporter, beaten only by the USA, according to The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google. The figures are in slight contrast to last month‘s research from OC&C Strategy Consultants who reported the UK was the strongest online exporter in the world.

“These new figures show UK retailers are investing heavily in international online experiences, localised websites and faster delivery times to drive exports,” said Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium. “There were also very positive results from the Russian Federation and Argentina. We will be working hard to make sure that these good trends are not undermined by proposals in these countries for import taxes targeted against cross-border internet sales.”

However, smartphone search volumes only inched up 1 per cent in Japan while tablet search volumes shrunk by 18 per cent.

“Gadgets continued to be the gift of choice this year, with consoles, tablets & games leading the charge. On smartphones, wedding related searches trended,” explained Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director, Google.

Mark Haviland, MD, Rakuten Marketing said affiliate marketing could allow brands to connect and build relationships with trusted publishers in new markets.

“Assigning marketing spend to untested markets may be perceived as a daunting prospect, but many retailers are successfully offsetting this risk using a strategic affiliate marketing programme.”