UK retail search volumes on smartphone devices increased 23% in Q1

UK retail search volumes on smartphone devices increased 23% in Q1

More shoppers went online to search for UK department stores and clothing in the first quarter of 2017 than in-store, new figures show, pointing to the significance of retailers tailoring their online offering to suit both traditional browsing and mobile platforms in order to satisfy consumers.

Total UK retail search volumes grew 7% across all devices in the first quarter compared with the same quarter a year ago, according to the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor. Yet UK retail search volumes on smartphone devices increased by 23%.

Apparel was the most searched for sector by overseas consumers on smartphone devices, reporting growth of 52% in the quarter. Department Stores was also a popular sector for overseas consumers on smartphone devices, increasing 50%.

'With today's figures showing a 23% year-on-year increase in smartphone searches, it's clear that mobile retailing has achieved a milestone in consumer spending habits," says Craig Smith VP of solutions and customer success at Amplience. "As more people shop from their phones, customer attention spans are shrinking, and retailers are not helped by small screens and slow connection speeds. Once a customer is shopping on mobile, the experience must be relevant and served to them quickly."

Online sales now consistently make up over a fifth of total retail sales at home, according to the British Retail Consortium. The figures show Estonia as demonstrating the strongest appetite for UK retailers from the EU, reporting an 84% increase on smartphone devices in the quarter.

However, Smith warns that while many retailers are working hard at delivering a quality mobile shopping experience, he believes there is still room for improvement.

"All too familiar responsive designs may have a lower total cost of ownership, but often deliver a compromised experience on mobile. Mobile retailing must target the user with personalised content that is relevant to them. A person's mobile phone is their most intimate piece of technology. Yet, more often than not, when they load a retailer's homepage they are greeted with generic content, product offers and suggestions that don't click with them. Relevant content drives sales and content personalisation on mobile should be a top priority for UK retailers."