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Mobile drives 11% increase in online searches

Retail search volumes grew 11% in the first quarter of 2012 driven by a 132% increase in mobile and tablet searches.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Mobile drives 11% increase in online searches

The figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Google Online Retail Monitor also showed a 57% rise in search volumes from overseas consumers in the quarter compared with the previous year.

Search volumes on mobile and tablets reached their peak on 2 January during the January sales. There was also noticeable peak in retail searches on the devices two weeks before Mother's Day on 4 March.

The BRC said total search volumes grew at their fastest rate for health and beauty and food and drink related items in the quarter, which were up 21% year-on-year. For mobile, growth in search volumes was highest for food and drink, up by 172% year-on-year.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: "Squeezed household budgets mean customers are turning more and more to the internet to research what they're buying and look for best value. Being able to check competitors' goods and prices while they're in a store is a big part of the continuing boom in retail searches via mobiles and tablets.

"It's a sign of these tough times that this isn't restricted to major purchases – the biggest growth in mobile retail searches is on food and drink as people compare different offers. The number of overseas consumers searching for UK retailers has soared 57% for this quarter compared with the same period a year earlier."

Peter Fitzgerald, retail director at Google, said internet search traffic from developing countries had more than doubled in the quarter with increases in search volumes from Mexico and Pakistan rising 135% and 101% respectively. He added that the growth underscored the importance of retailers developing their interntional brands.

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