Google searches for UK retailers soar

Google saw worldwide growth in the number of searches for UK retailers on mobile devices in the last quarter of 2015.

According to the BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor, all retail sectors (beauty, fashion, leisure, department stores and homes and gardens) experienced an increase in the volume of overseas customers using the search engine to look for UK retailers on mobile devices.

The report found that the top trending searches in the tech sector were iPhone 6, iPad, Chromecast, iPad Pro and Amazon Fire Stick.

Spain (62 per cent), Hungary (57 per cent) and Argentina (56 per cent) saw the most year-on-year growth in Q4 for UK retail searches. South Korea had the smallest growth at eight per cent.

The end of 2015 saw declines in the number of searches made on tablet devices, with Norway (32 per cent), South Korea (30 per cent) and the US (26 per cent) reporting the largest decreases.

Hungary was the only country to report a rise in the number of searches for UK retailers on tablets, while Japan saw a decrease in the number of searches for UK retailers on both mobiles (four per cent) and tablets (15 per cent).

Said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium: “The final quarter of the year was very much a digital one. The internet played a vital role in driving sales for UK retailers, and, as has been the case for some time now, mobile devices were key to this.

“Among the ever-expanding range of mobile devices used by the internet-savvy overseas shopper, smartphones continue to be the most popular. This was particularly the case for shoppers in India, where we saw an impressive 39 per cent increase in smartphone use to search for UK brands. Russia and Brazil likewise saw a significant bump in consumers shopping with their phones. All three markets saw a contrasting decline in the use of online tablets to search for UK goods.”

Martijn Bertisen, retail director at Google, said: “In the UK, this Christmas was truly mobile. Over half of searches came from mobile devices during peak periods, and our retailers have felt the effects, posting incredible mobile revenue growth this year. Outside the UK, mobile is also playing an increasingly important role.

“Across many Western countries we have seen high mobile growth, from mature nations such as the US and Germany, through to Hungary and Poland. However in Asian countries that growth has slowed. In 2014 we saw strong mobile growth from our Eastern neighbours – classically early mobile adopters – and we can see the impact of that now.”