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Mobile devices helping British firms attract new international shoppers

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According to the BRC-Google online retail monitor for the first quarter of 2015, there was a 54 per cent increase in the number of smartphone searches for UK clothing products and a 11 per cent rise in tablet searches.

Eastern European countries such as Serbia, Slovakia and Hungary saw the biggest growth rates in searches across all devices driven by smartphones – with search volumes at 194 per cent, 136 per cent and 102 per cent respectively. 

There was also huge growth in the number of smartphone searches from Indian, German and Mexican online shoppers. 

The most popular products being searched for included footwear and luxury clothes as the emerging middle classes showed their spending confidence.

In contrast, UK shoppers searching for overseas clothing retailers increased by nine per cent during the first quarter, a rise on the five per cent level recorded in the same quarter a year ago. Despite the general rise in online popularity, six countries experienced declining search volumes using tablet devices including Australia, the US, Taiwan and Russia.

Overall in the UK, searches for multichannel clothing firms recorded a 42 per cent increase year-on-year. Sports and fitness clothes, particularly in the first few months of the new year as people tried to get fit, women’s clothing and outerwear proved the most popular. There was also rising demand for engagement rings and wedding dresses as the wedding summer season approaches.

“The latest figures show that UK consumers are making greater use than ever of handheld devices to shop online, particularly where it comes to buying clothes,” said Helen Dickinson, director general at the British Retail Consortium. “British shoppers are also increasingly looking abroad as well as at home to buy their clothes, with a nine per cent rise in consumers searching online for overseas clothes retailers. This trend also applies to shoppers from abroad.” 

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Peter Fitzgerald, retail director, at Google added: “Mobile continues to drive growth in the UK and this remains the case with apparel in the first quarter. Interestingly emerging markets still see strong growth from tablets, however smartphones supercharge growth for overseas consumers of UK brands. 

“Multichannel retailers had a strong Q1, growing at 42 per ent year-on-year. This reflects the increasing trend we see in the UK toward click-and-collect services. Consumers value the convenience of in-store collection, and particularly for apparel, the ability to easily return goods to store.”

Image: Shutterstock

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