- Volume of overseas customers searching for UK retailers grew 23% in Q4 2016
- In the UK, search volumes on mobile devices increased 16%
- Apparel was the most-searched-for sector by overseas consumers on mobile devices, up 64%
- Croatia demonstrated the strongest appetite for UK retailers, reporting a 106% increase
Interest from overseas in UK brands jumped 23% in the last quarter of 2016, as international shoppers were drawn to UK fashion and beauty ranges.
Fashion was the most-searched-for sector by overseas consumers on mobile devices – up 64%, according to the latest quarterly figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Google online retail monitor.
Beauty was popular too, with searches rising 50% during the period.
Croatia demonstrated the strongest appetite for UK retailers, registering a 106% increase on mobile devices year-on-year.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said digital continues to play a “pivotal role in driving sales” for UK retailers.
In December, the online penetration rate for non-food remained above 20% for the 15th consecutive month and the channel won its greatest share of Black Friday and Christmas sales to date.
“It is no surprise therefore that today’s figures, which show high double-digit growth of mobile search volumes across most UK brand categories, are consistent with this trend,” Dickinson said.
Importance of EU
Dickinson added that the figures this quarter demonstrate the increasing importance of the EU market to UK retailers.
“Consumers from the Continent are increasingly likely to be experiencing the British retail offer through their smartphones.
“The challenges and opportunity for UK retailers to capitalise on this rapid growth persist and British businesses remain focused on tailoring their ecommerce offer to utilise the strength and popularity of UK retail beyond our own borders, which shows little sign of diminishing.”
Google retail director Martijn Bertisen said: “Foreign exchange rates have continued to position UK brands favourably internationally, with particularly strong growth from our European neighbours.
“In this mobile-first world, having a great user experience is crucial for our retailers. A recent Google study found that only five of the top 20 UK retailers’ mobile sites load in less than two seconds.”