UK shoppers go mobile

25 July 2011

LONDON: Consumers in the UK are increasingly turning to mobile search as a means of finding out information about retailers and products, new figures show.

The British Retail Consortium, the trade body, and Google, the online giant, estimated that the number of retail-related search enquiries entered via this route rose by 216% in the last quarter.

Such an improvement could be measured against a 27% uptick when considering all forms of digital media.

Multichannel searching – typically where people utilise the web to track down information concerning bricks and mortar stores – delivered a 14% increase across mobile and the net year on year.

However, searches related to pure-play online retailers saw a 21% lift on the same metric.

Searches regarding the iPad 2, which was rolled out across the UK in March 2011, were among the highest for any individual product during the timeframe assessed.

The iPhone 5, another offering from Apple's portfolio, and which is scheduled for launch in September, also elicited a significant amount of activity.

Stephen Robertson, the director general of the British Retail Consortium, commented: "The star performer is mobile, with the number of retail searches being carried out on smart phones and tablets more than trebling for this quarter compared with the same period last year."

Wedding dresses and garden furniture featured among the top search categories in the second quarter of 2011, the study revealed.

Perhaps encouraged by the declining of the pound, the proportion of overseas consumers searching for UK retailers also grew by 34% year on year.

Geographically, London remained the focus of UK online shopping, representing 36% of all British retail searches.

Peter Fitzgerald, retail director for Google, added: "Volumes were down in April as the warm weather and bank holidays took their toll, but picked up again in May with the return of cooler weather.

"However, mobile searches remained constant throughout the quarter, largely unaffected by the changing temperatures. This is unsurprising given the 'always on' nature of mobile users."

Data sourced from Stockmarketwire; additional content by Warc staff