British retailers have remained at “the cutting edge” of global retail after online searches by international shoppers for UK brands soared.

Searches from smartphones dominated the spike in search volumes during the second quarter of 2016, as swathes of non-EU consumers took to their mobiles to seek out the online offers of British businesses.

Consumers in Israel led the way, recording an 89% increase in mobile search volumes for UK retailers compared to the same three-month period a year ago.

Hong Kong registered the next largest increase, at 51%, according to the BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor.

Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, United States, Saudi Arabia and Canada all posted spikes of between 40% and 49% year-on-year as British retail brands gained traction across a host of markets.

Of the 22 countries listed in the report, only Nigeria (down 2%), China (down 29%) and Brazil (down 33%) reported drop-offs in the number of consumers searching for British retailers via their smartphones.

The beauty sector was the biggest beneficiary of the growth in interest from non-EU territories, enjoying a 52% surge in mobile searches.

British fashion retailers received a 49% boost in online traffic from non-EU shoppers during the quarter.

Tablet searches down

However, the number of consumers carrying out online searches for UK retailers using their tablets dropped in all countries except for Japan, which posted a 1% uplift.

The biggest falls in online searches for British brands via tablet came in China (57%) and Brazil (45%) during the second quarter of the year.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It’s clear that there are exciting growth opportunities for UK retailers wishing to explore global export markets.

“Today’s numbers show that international customers are increasingly using mobile devices to research their purchases.

“British retail businesses are remaining at the cutting edge by tailoring their ecommerce offer to make the journey from search to shop as mobile-friendly as possible.”

Google retail director Martijn Bertisen added: “As the UK moves into the second half of the year and makes the first steps towards Brexit, it is reassuring for our UK retailers to note the continued international interest in the ‘Best of British’.

“Clothing and beauty brands are seeing growing interest year-over-year, particularly on mobile. In fact, we see the majority of search growth globally from smartphone devices, proof of the increasing consumer confidence in shopping via mobile.”