Global interest in UK fashion brands online is considerably higher than it was a year ago, research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google revealed.

Driven by shoppers using smartphones and tablet devices, the amount of searches by foreign consumers hunting for UK fashion was 13% higher in the first quarter of 2014 compared with last year.

By nationality the shoppers showing the most increased interest in UK fashion came from China, where there was a 50% increase in search volumes overall.

Conversely, the number of UK consumers looking at overseas brands increased by just 5% in the quarter.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “UK clothing and footwear retailers are already world-beaters. These new BRC-Google numbers show that they are continuing to improve and expand on their online and multichannel offers, increasing their appeal to international markets and boosting the economy with their exports.”

The research, carried out jointly by Google and the BRC, shows that more shoppers are searching for fashion using smartphones than tablet devices. Between January and March volumes of searches from overseas shoppers using smartphones was 26% higher year on year, while searches on tablet devices were up by 17%.