UK retailers received an uplift in searches via mobile by international shoppers over Christmas, according to the BRC-Google online retail monitor.

UK retailers experienced a surge in mobile searches from international shoppers over the final quarter of 2015, with mobile searches up across all sectors year on year.

Beauty and fashion retailers had the biggest uplift in international mobile searches, up 51% and 41% respectively. Both these increases were offset by a drop in searches on tablet devices, a pattern that was repeated across all retail sectors and international markets except for Hungary, where searches on tablet devices rose 5%.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “The internet played a vital role in driving sales for UK retailers and, as has been the case for some time now, mobile devices were key to this.

“Among the ever-expanding range of mobile devices used by the internet-savvy overseas shopper, smartphones continue to be the most popular. This was particularly the case for shoppers in India, where we saw an impressive 39% increase in smartphone use to search for UK brands.

“Russia and Brazil likewise saw a significant bump in consumers shopping with their phones.”

Sales across Western countries had high rates of mobile growth. Spain searches experienced the biggest increase year on year, leaping 62%, and mobile searches were up 41% in the US. By contrast mobile searches for UK retailers in Asia have slowed. South Korea reported the smallest increase, up 8% and searches on mobile devices were down 4% in Japan.

Google retail director Martijn Bertisen said: “In 2014 we saw strong mobile growth from our Eastern neighbours – classically early mobile adopters – and we can see the impact of that now.”