The number of consumers searching for retail information on mobile devices more than trebled in the first quarter of the year, according to figures from the first Online Retail Monitor (ORM) from Google and The British Retail Consortium.
Mobile retail search traffic, including smartphone and tablet devices, increased 181% in the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year and accounts for 11% of all retail searches.
Total retail search volumes increased 29% during the period.
Growth was driven by multi-channel retailers who recorded a 42% increase in searches compared to online only retailers which reported 19% increase, demonstrating the value of multi-channel offer.
The report also found that international searches for UK retailers increased 27% which points to the growing demand for UK retailers to offer international operations and the growing opportunity for UK retailers to expand internationally.
Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, says: “Online is the fastest growing part of retailing. We need to better understand that development and what’s driving it. Despite any short-term effects from weakening consumer confidence, what stands out here is the fundamental strength of the growth of online retailing.”
“A 29% increase in retail searches in a year is a huge increase in potential shoppers. The rise of mobile use to one in ten searches sends a valuable message to any forward-thinking retailer that doesn’t yet have an m-commerce platform.”
The report measures the growth of online retail searches by counting the retail related search terms consumers put into Google.
The searches are then categorised and ranked to compare the performance of pure-play and multi-channel retailers.
The report will be published quarterly to complement the BRC’s high street figures.
Peter Fitzgerald, retail director at Google, says the ORM is a “big step in understanding online consumer behaviour” across retail categories and has been designed to provide retailers with insights on the changing digital marketplace to develop growth strategies.
The Top 10 Retail Search Terms for the three months
3 fancy dress
8 iPod Touch
9 Amazon Kindle
10 iPod Nano