British Retail Consortium reports rise in overseas shoppers searching for UK online retailers

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Retail trade association British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed on Tuesday that the total volume of international Internet shoppers searching for UK brands grew extensively during the fourth quarter of 2013.

According to the BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor (ORM), which measures changes and trends in the growth of retail search terms over time, there was a 64% increase in the total volume of overseas consumers searching for UK brands on smartphones during the last quarter of 2013, as well as a 41% year-on-year increase in the volume of searches by tablet.

The most substantial growth rates in UK retail smartphone search volumes were seen in Germany, the Russian Federation and Argentina, at 231%, 145% and 137% respectively.

ORM figures showed that several countries experienced considerable rates of growth in tablet searches, with Germany at 130%, France at 78%, Russian Federation at 66%, Ireland at 56% and the Netherlands at 47%.

UK consumers carrying out searches on smartphones for overseas retailers increased by 28% year-on-year ending Q4 2013, while the number of people searching for overseas retailers on tablets rose by 43%.

All sectors of the UK retail industry were said to have experienced an increase in the volume of overseas customers searching for UK retailers on both smartphones and tablets. The largest increase of 78% in searches by smartphones was achieved by Department stores, while Apparel searches rose by 66%. Searches for Beauty products increased by 56% and it was also the most searched sector by overseas customers on tablets, with an increase of 51%, followed by Department Stores at 46% and Apparel at 41%.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, commented:

“The UK is the world’s second biggest online retail exporter, beaten only by the USA. These new BRC-Google figures show UK retailers are investing heavily in international online experiences, localised websites and faster delivery times to drive exports.”

Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director of search engine Google, added:

“This Christmas mobile truly came into its own. Those retailers who invested in cross-device experiences – allowing their customers to easily find, buy and discover no matter where they are -reaped the rewards.

“Export continued to be a key driver of growth for our retailers this Christmas, particularly for our clothing and beauty brands. Phenomenal smartphone growth was seen across both emerging and established markets, with 231% growth in smartphone searches from Germany over Q4.

“Finally gadgets continued to be the gift of choice this year, with consoles, tablets & games leading the charge. On smartphones, wedding related searches trended.”

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