• Total UK retail search volumes grew 3% across all devices in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter a year ago.
  • North & Yorkshire saw the highest share of UK retail searches, with 26%, with Greater London in second place with 23%.
  • Home & Garden saw the highest YoY growth for UK smartphone users, with growth of 27% in Q4 2017.
  • Overseas searches for UK brands grew by 19% YoY in Q4 2017.
  • Italy demonstrated the strongest year on year growth in searches for UK brands from the EU, reporting 30% growth in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium:

“The final quarter of 2017 saw modest growth in the volume of online search activity for retail products, which was driven predominantly by mobile searches once again. It was the weakest quarter for growth last year, but that reflects the fact that shoppers are increasingly accessing retailers’ websites via social networks and e-mail marketing, rather than using search engines. Indeed, over Black Friday, a number of retailers noted that their e-mail campaigns were particularly successful in attracting shoppers to their websites. This only serves to illustrate the importance for retailers of making the most of all their channels for communicating with shoppers.

“Nevertheless, festivities over the Autumn and Winter months spurred a flurry of Google activity as consumers hunted for the perfect outfit to celebrate the occasion. Novelty Christmas jumpers and Halloween costumes soon became the top trending search terms. Interestingly, as retailers have spread out their Black Friday promotions, the popular shopping week overtook Boxing Day last year on Google search volumes, as consumers took more time to research deals.

“Browsing for an online bargain will likely become common practice for the increasingly discerning shopper as the squeeze on disposable income persists.”

Martijn Bertisen, Retail Director, Google:

"Mobile continues to be the largest growth driver across the retail business, with strongest growth in fashion, beauty & home. The Black Friday period is getting longer and, instead of staying up late to research the best deals, consumers are using their phones more than ever to research deals during morning commute times on Black Friday and at store opening times on Boxing Day."