Online retail bloomed at Christmas

The volume of online retail searches increased 14% in the final quarter of 2012 over the same period in 2011, the British Retail Consortium-Google Online Retail Monitor has revealed.

The report was able for the first time to monitor the rates of growth of retail search volumes for tablets and smartphones.

In Q4 2012, the volume of searches made on tablets tore ahead of searches on all other devices, rocketing up 238% over the previous year while growth on smartphone searches grew 76%.

In the last three months of 2012, the volume of searches for household goods grew the most, increasing 28% over the same period a year earlier.

On tablets, searches for clothing saw the biggest increase in volumes, shooting up 273% over a year earlier.

Boxing Day was the high point of retail searches, receiving more than twice the number of online searches that were made on Christmas Eve. The volume of total searches from consumers who live abroad went up by 25% in the fourth quarter of 2012 over the same time period in 2011.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the consortium, said: “This strong growth shows how online retail really came of age this Christmas. It’s playing an increasingly significant role at every stage of the customer journey.”