The BRC Google Online Retail Monitor today revealed that the total number of retail searches on Google jumped 15% in the second quarter of 2013. Retail Week takes a closer look.

What products were people searching for?

Search volumes rose fastest for DIY and gardening products, which were up 32% year on year in the quarter. The category also had the highest growth in search volumes on tablets and smartphones, up by 170% and 81% respectively. 

Top search terms included ‘iPad’, ‘garden furniture’ and ‘prom dresses’. Homewares, footwear and food and drink also performed strongly. Growth was lowest in electronics and leisure goods.

BRC director-general Helen Dickinson says: “With the continuing increase in the use of mobile devices to perform searches, we may well be seeing customers researching new wardrobe and garden purchases while outdoors enjoying the sunshine.”

How are shoppers searching?

The mobile trend has continued and searches on tablets rocketed 132% while searches on smartphones were up 66%. Google retail director Peter Fitzgerald says the numbers reflect the “growing multi-screening phenomenon across the UK”, where consumers use their devices while watching TV.

Where in the UK are people searching from?

London accounted for 35% of total searches in the period, down from 37% in the first quarter. The North came second, accounting for 20%. Northern Ireland was at the bottom of the table, accounting for just 2% of all searches. 

Are shoppers only researching UK retailers?

No. Search volumes from UK consumers researching overseas retailers increased 51% year on year, up from an 18% increase in the first quarter, reflecting the “changes the internet is bringing to the international retail market”, according to Dickinson. This was driven by interest in US retailers.  “The considerable increase in the number of UK consumers searching overseas retailers shows barriers are increasingly being broken down,” Dickinson says.

Searches from overseas consumers for British retailers increased 16%, propelled by Brazilian consumers, as well as shoppers from Vietnam, Colombia and Germany. Dickinson adds: “UK retailers are responding well to these changes and will be keen to continue seeing increases in overseas customers searching them out.