Ecommerce search volumes in the UK are on the up, driven by rapidly expanding mobile shopping habits among consumers – especially overseas shoppers in Germany and Estonia looking to ‘buy British’.
That is the upshot of the latest BRC-Google Online Retail monitor, which shows that across the UK retail search volumes grew 7% across all devices in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter a year ago, but that searches from phones is up 23% over the same period.
The South West saw the fastest growth in search volumes at 23% compared with the same quarter a year ago, whilst Northern Ireland and Wales both grew by 19%. In contrast London saw a decline of 8% on Q1 2016.
Apparel was the most searched for sector by overseas consumers on smartphone devices, reporting growth of 52% in Q1 2017, while department stores were also a popular sector for overseas consumers on smartphone devices, increasing 50% in Q1 2017.
Estonia demonstrated the strongest appetite for UK retailers from the EU, reporting an 84% increase on smartphone devices in the first quarter of 2017.
According to Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium: “This points to the significance of retailers tailoring their online offering to suit both traditional browsing and mobile platforms in order to satisfy shoppers. Smartphone-ready sites and quick loading times are essential to holding customers’ attention and converting searches into sales.”
Martijn Bertisen, Retail Director, Google, adds: “Smartphone growth shows no sign of slowing down, with retail searches from mobile devices up 23% year-over-year, seven percentage points higher than last quarter.
“Looking overseas, the EU continues to fuel growth in demand for UK brands. In particular, Eastern European nations like Estonia and Romania showed growth of more than 70% year-over-year from smartphones.
“Closer to home, we saw a slowdown in retail-related searches from Greater London, however there was an increasing appetite from the rest of the country, particularly on mobile. This highlights the importance of thinking local, we have seen up to 40% of searches on Google have local intent, as consumers are more likely to research their purchases online before visiting a store.”