Tablets driving mobile retail search boom

More people are browsing for their shopping on mobile devices than ever before, according to new figures.

The total number of retail searches rose 8% during July, August and September compared with the same quarter in 2011, with searches for health and beauty items seeing the biggest year-on-year growth of 15%.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures show that searches made on tablet devices now make up 42% of all mobile searches, having accounted for 40% during the previous quarter, a trend which will have implications for online marketing professionals and website design companies.

Meanwhile, searches carried out by overseas consumers were 33% higher in the third quarter of this year than they were during 2011, although there was a marked fall in retail searches from mobile devices on July 27 – the day of the Olympics opening ceremony.

The BRC’s director general Stephen Robertson said the growth in mobile searches was being driven by the increasing popularity of tablets. He added: “Two in five of all mobile retail searches are now undertaken on tablets despite them being far outnumbered by smartphones.”