Expansion Boom in the UK from Overseas Internet Shoppers

Tuesday, 04 February 2014
UK retailers enjoyed a double and triple digit increase in online searches from overseas shoppers in key markets during the fourth quarter of 2013, highlighting the importance of investing in a strong online presence, according to data released Tuesday by the British Retail Consortium and Google. The data showed a 64 percent increase in the total amount of overseas shoppers searching for UK retail labels on smartphones, with a 41 percent growth in the number of searches carried out on tablets during the October to December quarter of 2013.

UK retailers witness 'huge increase' of online searches from overseas markets

Helen Dickinson, director general at the BRC commented: "These new BRC-Google figures show UK retailers are investing heavily in international online experiences, localised websites and faster delivery times to drive exports. We have taken a close look this quarter at four key export markets. We've seen huge increases in searches from all of the most important [countries.]"

Countries such as Germany, Russia and Argentina witnessed the most significant increase in smartphone search volumes, reporting a 213 percent, 145 percent and 137 percent growth respectively for UK retail searches. The International search growth for UK retailers increased other regions as well, such as France, where search amounts rose 89 percent on smartphones and 78 percent on tablets during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Other countries which saw substantial rates of increase in online tablet searches for British retailers include Germany with 130 percent, Russia with 66 percent and the Netherlands with a 47 percent. In comparison, the number of British shoppers searching on smartphones for overseas retailers increased 28 percent on a year-on-year basis, ending with the fourth quarter of 2013, while on tablets this amount grew by 43 percent.

British department stores see biggest increase in online smartphone searches

Searches for UK fashion and apparel items from overseas consumers also grew considerable, with search amounts growing 66 percent via smartphones and 41 percent via tablets for the fourth quarter of 2013. However, it was UK's department stores which witnessed the largest increases in searches by smartphones, with a 78 percent rise.

Last month, British department stores such as House of Fraser, Next and John Lewis reported significant increases in online sales during the Christmas trading period, with HoF witnessing a 57.7 percent growth in online sales for the three weeks to December 28, which lead to a record breaking Holiday trading period.

Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director, Google, added: "This Christmas mobile truly came into its own. Those retailers who invested in cross-device experiences - allowing their customers to easily find, buy and discover no matter where they are -reaped the rewards."

"Export continued to be a key driver of growth for our retailers this Christmas, particularly for our clothing and beauty brands. Phenomenal smartphone growth was seen across both emerging and established markets."

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