StockMarketWire.com - Total retail search volumes grew at their fast rate this year increasing by 35% in the third quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier, according to the BRC/Google Online Retail Monitor.

The increase was driven by a rise in mobile search volumes of 168% year-on-year. The growth of retail search volumes for multi-channel retailers (usually those using stores and the internet) reached 26% in the third quarter of 2011 compared with 71% for pure online retailers.

The number of overseas consumers searching for UK retailers grew by 34% in the third quarter of 2011 compared with the same quarter a year earlier. The number of UK consumers searching for overseas retailers grew by 78% in the second quarter of 2011 compared with the same period a year earlier.

Mobile accounted for 10% of retail searches.

Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium Director General said: "Mounting pressures on household budgets may be generating more online retail searches as people work harder to compare prices and track down value. While searches grew 35 per cent, their fastest this year, the BRC's Retail Sales Monitor show growth in online spending has actually slowed to 10 per cent suggesting extra searches are a symptom of bargain hunting.

Even so, online retailing is still expanding quickly compared with selling through stores and searching from mobile devices is showing the most dramatic increase. Retailers are engaging with, and encouraging, this shift in shopping behaviour by providing more and easier ways to search and shop via smartphones and tablets."

Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director, Google, said:

"Retail searches on desktop rose by 35% y/y in q3, with mobile growing by 168% y/y. Home and Garden saw strong growth in July, while it was back-to-school searches which fuelled the August increase, with Consumer Electronics in particular seeing phenomenal growth in ‘tablet' searches. September also saw an uplift, as Christmas gift related searches began to appear. This is unsurprising given that many consumers are Christmas shopping earlier this year, in order to spread the cost and avoid disruption due to bad weather. International searches for UK retailers also saw a massive uplift last quarter, as countries already originating large volumes of searches such as Russia, Pakistan and Mexico saw increases of between 90% and 300% y/y."

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