Online retail searches are growing as people use the internet to hunt down bargains, according to the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor.
Mobile retail search volumes grew by 168% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2011, driving a 35% increase in total retail search volumes (mobile and desktop). Mobile now accounts for 10% of retail searches.
Home and garden saw strong growth in July, while back-to-school searches fuelled growth in August. September also saw an uplift, as Christmas gift-related searches began to appear. Beds topped the list of popular search terms during the quarter.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said; "Mounting pressures on household budgets may be generating more online retail searches as people work harder to compare prices and track down value. While searches grew 35%, their fastest this year, the BRC's Retail Sales Monitor show growth in online spending has actually slowed to 10% suggesting extra searches are a symptom of bargain hunting.
"Even so, online retailing is still expanding quickly compared with selling through stores and searching from mobile devices is showing the most dramatic increase. Retailers are engaging with, and encouraging, this shift in shopping behaviour by providing more and easier ways to search and shop via smartphones and tablets."
The growth of retail search volumes for multichannel retailers reached 26% in Q3 compared with 71% for pure online retailers.
The number of overseas consumers searching for UK retailers grew by 34% in the period, while the number of UK consumers searching for overseas retailers grew by 78% compared with the same period last year.