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1 in 5 online retail searches in December were on mobiles

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium and Google have shown that total retail online search volumes grew 24% in the last three months of 2011 compared with the same period a year earlier. The increase was driven by a rise in mobile and tablet search volumes which grew by 169% year-on-year.


1 in 5 online retail searches in December were on mobiles

The BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor Q4 2011 showed that on Christmas Day mobile and tablet searches accounted for 26% of overall retail searches. Searches in the pre-Christmas period  peaked on 4 December for mobile and tablet devices, and a week earlier, on 30 November, for all online retail searches.

Total searches for food and drink related items in the quarter had the fastest rate of growth, up 29% year-on-year. On mobile devices, the fastest growing searches were for homeware products, up by 189% year-on-year.

Stephen Robertson, director general, British Retail Consortium, said:  "For a fourth successive quarter, the number of retail searches from smartphones and tablets has nearly trebled compared with the previous year. During December, one in five retail searches came from a mobile device and on Christmas Day this increased to more than one in four."

He added: "The significant growth in searches from countries such as Brazil and Russia shows the opportunities presented by emerging economies. For many retailers, tapping into these booming consumer markets is an increasingly important strategy for growth."

Peter Fitzgerald, retail director, Google, said: "Mobile was the standout winner this Christmas with search volumes reaching unprecedented levels, growing from 7% of searches in Q4 2010, to account for over 20% of all retail searches a year later. Even in categories like Consumer Electronics, where growth slowed to just 3% in Q4, mobile/tablet searches were still up an incredible 95% year-on-year. The usage patterns on the different devices are especially interesting. Over Christmas desktop search volumes peaked on Monday 5 December and saw a marked drop thereafter. Mobile/tablet volumes remained consistent later into the month, peaking at the weekends, with many consumers likely to have been searching on their devices while out and about."



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