The number of internet searches for clothing rose 15% during the first quarter of this year, while searches for footwear increased 18% year-on-year according to The British Retail Consortium.

Research carried out with search engine Google also found that mobile and tablet search volumes for clothing increased 142% year-on-year, while on the same devices footwear surged 169%.

"Squeezed household budgets mean customers are turning more and more to the internet to research what they're buying and look for best value," said BRC director general Stephen Robertson.

"Being able to check competitors' goods and prices while they're in a store is a big part of the continuing boom in retail searches via mobiles and tablets."

The number of overseas consumers visiting UK based retailers rose 57% in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year, up from 45% in the previous quarter.

During the period, the numbers of UK shoppers searching for overseas retailers rose by 41% compared with the same quarter last year.

"The busiest days online, overall and on mobile, for Q1 2012 came in the first few days of January as customers searched for bargains and post-Christmas discounts in the January sales period," explained Google retail director, Peter Fitzgerald.

In addition, there was a peak in retail searches on mobile and tablet devices two weeks before Mother's Day.

"The first quarter of 2012 provided more evidence of the growing importance of mobile. While overall retail queries grew 11% year-on-year, mobile experienced exponential growth, growing 132% year-on-year in Q1," Fitzgerald added.