Apparel led the volume of overseas searches of UK retailers on a mobile device

Apparel led the volume of overseas searches of UK retailers on a mobile device

Mobile technology is continuing to drive UK apparel sales growth, new figures show, with smartphone clothing searches soaring by nearly half in the last quarter. 

The Online Retail Monitor from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google for the second quarter of 2016 shows apparel, along with beauty, led the volume of overseas searches of UK retailers on a mobile device, with the former up 49%.

The top trending searches for apparel from international consumers were dresses, prom dresses, wedding dresses and shoes.

All sectors, however, saw a decline in tablet search volumes, as smartphones become more sophisticated and thus more appealing to consumers when browsing UK retailers' websites. Apparel reported a decline of 17% using these devices. 

Nonetheless, searches for UK retailers remains robust on mobile devices, with a number of countries outside of the EU reporting double-digit growth in the quarter. Some of the highest search volumes came from countries in the Middle East, Asia and North America with Israel, Hong Kong, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, the US and Saudi Arabia being the top six countries.

A number of emerging markets reported a decline in mobile search volumes, with Brazil and China reporting falls of 33% and 29% respectively. These countries have both experienced a slowdown in economic activity, which the report explains could be reflective of their decline in search volumes for UK retailers. 

"As the UK moves into the second half of the year and makes the first steps towards Brexit, it is reassuring for our UK retailers to note the continued international interest in the 'Best of British'," says Martijn Bertisen, retail director at Google. "Clothing and beauty brands are seeing growing interest year-over-year, particularly on mobile. In fact, we see the majority of search growth globally from smartphone devices, proof of the increasing consumer confidence in shopping via mobile.

"Looking outside the EU, we see growth from our North American neighbours in Canada and the US. However, it is in the Middle East and Asia where increasing mobile adoption rates have driven the strongest growth in interest in our UK retail brands. Whilst closer to home the spring/summer season is well underway with wedding related searches popular in apparel, and outdoor furniture and barbecues in home."