Google and BRC link for online retail info service

Today sees the first report in a new service from Google and the British Retail Consortium that collects information about retail searches made online.

Google and BRC link for online retail info service

Ecommerce is by far the fastest-growing part of UK retailing – responsible for 9% of all UK retail spending compared with less than 4% in 2007 – but online retail data has not been issued in this way before.

Under the new service, every time someone goes on the internet and Googles a retail product that search is counted towards a total for the month and the quarter. The quarterly BRC – Google Online Retail Monitor also, amongst other things, quantifies the growth of mobile retail searches, gives a geographical breakdown of online retail activity and compares the performance of online-only retailers with those also using stores.

The first ORM, which covers January, February and March 2011, shows that total retail search volumes grew by 29% over the same quarter a year earlier while mobile retail search traffic outpaced overall growth, rising a staggering 181% over the same period.

Retail searches grew fastest for multi-channel retailers, which saw a rise of 42% year-on-year, compared with 19% for pure online retailers. And central and Greater London were the source of 46% of total retail searches.

The ORM also ranks the most popular retail search terms, and found that the top 10 in the first quarter were: boots, dresses, fancy dress, beds, kitchens, curtains, sofas, Ipod Touch, Amazon Kindle and Ipod Nano.

Commenting on the findings, BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “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.”

He went on: “The star performer is mobile. A threefold increase reveals customers are taking to Smartphone and tablet shopping very rapidly. The rise of mobile use to one in 10 searches sends a valuable message to any forward-thinking retailer that doesn’t yet have an m-commerce platform.”

Meanwhile, Google’s retail director, Peter Fitzgerald, described the launch of the ORM as “a big step in understanding online consumer behaviour across retail categories”.

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