According to the British Retail Consortium, total retail search volumes grew 35% in the third quarter compared with the same quarter last year. A number of factors have driven this increase, including a rise in mobile search (+168%) and more overseas consumers searching for UK sites (+34%). In addition, there has been a growth in search volumes for multi-channel retailers of 26%.
The perception is that the economic climate is a driving force behind increased volumes of searches as consumers research online for the best prices. This is certainly the view of Stephen Robertson, Director General of British Retail Consortium,
"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 per cent, their fastest this year, the BRC's Retail Sales Monitor show growth in online spending has actually slowed to 10 per cent suggesting extra searches are a symptom of bargain hunting.”
The continued expansion of online retailing is not just a result of economic factors or organic growth. Retailers are feeding this growth with more intuitive, user-friendly websites, multi channel promotion and easier ways to shop on smartphones and tablet computers.
So what are we to make of this? eCommerce continues to grow it’s share of total retail expenditure and harsh economic times appear to be accelerating that. This is acknowledged by retailers who are putting a greater effort into mobile and their online presence in general.
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