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Smartphones drive boom in UK retail searches

Smartphones fuelled a boom in online searches related to UK retailers and brands during the second quarter of 2017.

Retail-related smartphone searches soared by 26% compared with the same period last year, research by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google shows. Overall, retail-related online searches grew by 7% for the same period.

Searches from overseas, in particular mobile searches from within the European Union, were also said to be strong. Beauty brands saw particular interest with a 42% rise in smartphone searches from overseas.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “The increase in mobile search volumes over this period is consistent with the upward trend in online non-food sales growth.

“One in five pounds is now consistently spent online for non-food purchases at home, while the growth in mobile browsing from the EU demonstrates a stable appetite for UK retailers from overseas consumers. Satisfying this interest from abroad through retailers’ digital offer, is crucial to go some way to offsetting the more discretionary spending habits of hard-pressed UK consumers.”

Martijn Bertisen, retail director at Google, highlighted the increasingly international, omnichannel nature of UK retailers, also noting that British brands held a continuing draw for international consumers. “An unseasonably warm second quarter saw consumers increasingly searching from their smartphones whilst out and about,” he said.

“Overseas shoppers – from within the EU and beyond – continue to show increasing interest UK brands,”

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