Total retail searches increased 12% in the third quarter of 2013 despite a decline in desktop searches, according to the BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor.
The 10% drop in desktop search was more than compensated for by a 100% surge in tablet searches. Smartphone retail queries jumped 58% over the quarter to September.
Google retail director Peter Fitzgerald said: “The glorious summer weather that extended into July at times proved tough for online trading, as customers opted to enjoy the sunshine. However, in the past two months of the quarter there was a drop in temperatures, which led to overall queries growing at 12% in the third quarter. Again the DIY and gardening sectors were able to take advantage of the weather, with ‘garden furniture’ one of the most popular retail searches this quarter.”
The top searched for terms over the quarter included Fifa 14, Grand Theft Auto 5 and iPad Mini, suggesting that customers were hunting for deals on new technology releases.
Overseas consumers hunting for UK retailers increased 23% with the most searches coming from the Russian Federation, the Netherlands and South Korea. Domestic searches for international retailers soared 33%.
BRC director-general Helen Dickinson said: “These figures highlight the strong foothold that UK retailers have on the international stage, and the major potential for further growth. The growth in global customers searching for UK retailers online shows how the quality, range and accompanying service offered by ‘Brand Britain’ is something respected around the world. For the first time, we can also see which areas of UK retail rank most highly in these overseas searches, with clothing, beauty and department stores making up the top three.”