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Mobile retail searches up 133% as Google study finds tablets driving online shopping

A joint study by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google Retail Monitor has revealed that nearly half of all retail searches made on mobile devices come from tablets.

Mobile searching as a whole continues to enjoy strong growth - 113 per cent - and is helping to drive a modest overall increase in retail searches of 9 per cent, based on year-on-year figures calculated at the end the second quarter.

Stephen Robertson, director general at the BRC, highlighted that 40 per cent of mobile retail searches were now made via tablets, reflecting both the ongoing consumer shift away from traditional devices like laptops and PCs, and the sustained adoption curve of tablets.

"Mobile searches overall are booming and the biggest growth area within that is for food and drink, showing smart consumers are increasingly using new devices to price check before buying their groceries," he said

Food and drink search volumes increased 163 per cent year-on-year, while the DIY and gardening sector experienced the second largest growth, rising by 162 per cent.

Interestingly, consumer electronics was the only area that demonstrated a decline in total search volumes, showing a three per cent fall while all other sectors reported at least double-digit growth.

Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director at Google, pointed out that while weather conditions negatively affected the retail sector as a whole in Q2, query growth remained strong. This, he ventured, was down to online shopping's water resistant nature and its relationship to TV viewing.

"Q2 was another big quarter for mobile. Some of the top days for mobile queries were around the Q2 bank holidays. This demonstrates two central trends around mobile. First, the local trend - with so many people out and on the go we see mobile queries rise. Second, there is the trend of using mobile devices while watching TV. This drives up mobile queries around the bank holidays, which are big TV viewing days," Mr Fitzgerald said.

Big sporting events like Wimbledon (tennis) and the 2012 European Championships (football) also fell under Q2 and helped to put people in front of television monitors.

The top retail searches for the quarter included adidas, Amazon Kindle, Galaxy S3, iPad 3, Nike, Superdry, Vans and Xbox.