Figures from the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor show that total retail search volumes grew 9% in the second quarter of 2012 compared with the same quarter a year earlier as more consumers used mobile and tablets to search for products and to price check.
Mobile and tablet search volumes grew 113% year-on-year and for the first time tablet searches accounted for 40% of mobile and tablet total searches. The BRC said there was a noticeable peak in retail searches on mobile and tablet devices during the bank holiday on 7 May.
Total search volumes grew at their fastest rate for footwear items which were up 19% in the quarter. For mobile, growth was highest for food and drink, which was up 163% year-on-year.
There was also strong growth in search volumes from overseas consumers which rose 42% in the quarter compared with the previous year.
Stephen Robertson, director general, British Retail Consortium, said: “For the first time, we can see searches from tablets are responsible for 40% of all retail searches from mobile devices, a very substantial share. This reflects the growth in shoppers using tablets at home instead of a laptop or PC. Mobile searches overall are booming and the biggest growth area within that is for food and drink, showing smart consumers are increasingly using new devices to price check before buying their groceries.
“Around a fifth of all online spending is on food and drink but only a small proportion – 4% of total grocery spending happens online. With non-food goods dominating online spending, there are huge opportunities for food retailers to expand their internet businesses and this will be a big area of competition in the coming months and years.”
Peter Fitzgerald, retail director, Google, added: “Q2 was a quarter with lots of talking points and events – the weather, the Jubilee and the European Championships. Weather conditions negatively affected many retailers in April, but retail query growth in April was strong. This shows that people were still online and shopping. Q2 was also another big quarter for mobile.
“Some of the top days for mobile queries were around the Q2 bank holidays. This demonstrates two central trends around mobile. First, the local trend – with so many people out and on the go we see mobile queries rise. Second, there is the trend of using mobile devices while watching TV. This drives up mobile queries around the bank holidays, which are big TV viewing days.”