Shopping via mobiles soars

BRC and Google say consumer retail habits are changing.
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Mobile retail search traffic in the first quarter of 2011 grew by 29 per cent year-on-year, the British Retail Consortium and Google have revealed.

The retail search traffic from mobile phones outpaced overall growth, rising by 181 per cent and mobile searches accounted for 11 per cent of total retail searches in the first quarter of 2011.

Retail searches grew most quickly for multi-channel retailers, which saw a rise of 42 per cent year-on-year, compared with 19 per cent for pure online retailers.

The number of overseas consumers searching for UK retailers also grew by 27 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, compared with the same period of 2010.

The number of UK consumers searching for overseas retailers grew by 21 per cent in Q1 2011 compared with the same period a year earlier.

Central and Greater London were the source of 46 per cent of total retail searches.

Stephen Robertson, director general, British Retail Consortium, said:
"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 per cent increase in retail searches in a year is a huge increase in potential shoppers. The star performer is mobile. A three-fold increase reveals customers are taking to smartphone and tablet shopping very rapidly. 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 figures show British retailers are very good at selling online and winning business from all parts of the world. What we need from politicians, UK and European, is a regulatory environment that helps that develop further."

Peter Fitzgerald, retail director, Google, added: "The launch of the Online Retail Monitor (ORM) marks a big step in understanding online consumer behaviour across retail categories.

"The report provides key insights into some important online trends, including the most popular products consumers are searching for and the varied rates at which multi-channel and pureplay retailers are growing online. We hope that it will provide retailers with an up to date snapshot of the ever-changing digital retail marketplace."

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