Online retail searches grew substantially in the U.K. during this year's first quarter, but the growth of mobile retail searches far outpaced that of regular online searches, according to a report by Google and the British Retail Consortium.
Mobile retail searches grew by 181 percent year over year and accounted for 11 percent of all retail searches. Overall, retail searches grew by 29 percent, according to the report.
"Online is the fastest growing part of retailing," says Stephen Robertson, general director of the British Retail Consortium. "We need to better understand that development and what's driving it… A 29-percent increase in retail searches in a year is a huge increase in potential shoppers."
Robertson adds that the rise of mobile use to one in 10 searches should send a message to retailers who have yet to optimize their sites for mobile viewing, as they could be missing out on a lot of shoppers.
"The star performer is mobile. A three-fold increase reveals customers are taking to smartphone and tablet shopping very rapidly," Robertson says.
Retailers that had both an online and offline presence, however, had the biggest increase in searches, growing by 42 percent year over year compared to online-only shops that saw a 19-percent increase, according to the report.
The report also showed that more foreign shoppers are going online and looking at U.K. retailers when they want to buy. And the number of searches for U.K. sellers by overseas consumers grew by 27 percent year over year, according to the report. Many of those searches were targeted toward central and greater London, with these areas getting 46 percent of all retail searches, the report states.
But that's not to say that U.K. shoppers aren't also looking elsewhere for their goods. In fact, 21 percent more shoppers in the U.K. went to a foreign site to find what they wanted.
"We hope that [this report] will provide retailers with an up-to-date snapshot of the ever-changing digital retail marketplace," says Peter Fitzgerald, retail director at Google.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.