Good news for UK retailers, search volumes from overseas consumers using tablets and smartphones have increased at an astronomical rate. Overall UK brand searches are up 57%, but the real news is from mobile and tablet computer shoppers who searched those brands an incredible 132% more often than when compared with the same time in 2011.
The numbers come to us from the British Retail Consortium, and Google Retail Monitor who measured the unbelievable growth starting in Quarter one of 2012.
Stephen Robertson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium commented on the growth:
"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 per cent for this quarter compared with the same period a year earlier."
"Internet search traffic from developing countries like Mexico and Pakistan has more than doubled. These statistics demonstrate the growth potential of online for UK retailers and the part retail can play in building a recovery based on exports, given the right conditions and a genuinely free-trade world market place."
Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director at Google also commented on the growth in UK traffic:
"The first quarter of 2012 provided more evidence of the growing importance of mobile. While overall retail queries grew 11% year-on-year, mobile experienced exponential growth, growing 132% year-on-year in Q1. Mobile retail queries as a percentage of total retail queries also followed a similar trajectory, more than doubling from 8% in Q1 2011 to 17% in Q1 2012."
"The busiest days online, overall and on mobile, for Q1 2012 came in the first few days of January as customers searched for bargains and post-Christmas discounts in the January sales period. The first quarter also underscored the importance of retailer brands developing their international presence. Overseas searches for UK retail brands grew 57% year-on-year in Q1."
"Countries such as Mexico and Pakistan drove the highest overall year-on-year growth in search interest for UK retailers; 135% and 101% year-on-year respectively, while interest also grew in the BRIC countries."
So it's not just about growth for the UK, the internet is making the world a smaller place even in the consumer goods market. We all have the potential to be international shoppers now via the instant search capabilities of our mobile devices. Who knew comparison shopping could ever encompass such a large area?