Mobile drives retail search traffic

The number of consumers searching for retail information on mobile devices more than trebled in the first quarter of the year, according to figures from the first Online Retail Monitor (ORM) from Google and The British Retail Consortium.


Mobile retail search traffic, including smartphone and tablet devices, increased 181% in the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year and accounts for 11% of all retail searches.

Total retail search volumes increased 29% during the period.

Growth was driven by multi-channel retailers who recorded a 42% increase in searches compared to online only retailers which reported 19% increase, demonstrating the value of multi-channel offer.

The report also found that international searches for UK retailers increased 27% which points to the growing demand for UK retailers to offer international operations and the growing opportunity for UK retailers to expand internationally.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, says: “Online is the fastest growing part of retailing. We need to better understand that development and what’s driving it. Despite any short-term effects from weakening consumer confidence, what stands out here is the fundamental strength of the growth of online retailing.”

“A 29% increase in retail searches in a year is a huge increase in potential shoppers. The rise of mobile use to one in ten searches sends a valuable message to any forward-thinking retailer that doesn’t yet have an m-commerce platform.”
The report measures the growth of online retail searches by counting the retail related search terms consumers put into Google.

The searches are then categorised and ranked to compare the performance of pure-play and multi-channel retailers.

The report will be published quarterly to complement the BRC’s high street figures.

Peter Fitzgerald, retail director at Google, says the ORM is a “big step in understanding online consumer behaviour” across retail categories and has been designed to provide retailers with insights on the changing digital marketplace to develop growth strategies.

The Top 10 Retail Search Terms for the three months

1 Boots

2 Dresses

3 Fancy dress

4 Beds

5 Kitchens

6 Curtains

7 Sofas

8 iPod Touch

9 Amazon Kindle

10 iPod Nano

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here