Global and local searches for UK brands rise, fashion is key sector

Research conducted by Google and the British Retail Consortium showed that online searches for UK retail items rose 9% during Q3 with 27% of searches made in Greater London while 23% of searches came from Northern England and Yorkshire. Smartphones drove the increase, up 23%, which far outstripped the overall 9% search increase.But fast growth is also being seen from outside of the UK and the biggest growth for British brand searches among EU countries was seen in Austria with a 28% rise.

And while fashion and beauty were the top search categories for UK and EU consumers, perhaps driven by the fall in the value of the pound, they were also top among consumers in non-EU countries with a 21% increase during the quarter. Britain has seen a tourist influx from countries such as China, the US, Russia and Middle Eastern states as they buy fashion in London at bargain prices due to favourable exchange rates. But there have also been reports that cross-border e-shopping is booming for the same reason.That’s good news for both physical fashion store operators as well as omnichannel or pureplay e-tail brands from the highest-end labels such as Burberry to more affordable names like Asos, Missguided and Boohoo.And beauty stores/e-stores will be riding the wave too with UK beauty searches by EU consumers increasing 38% in Q3 2017.Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Beauty and clothing brands continue to attract the most interest from both overseas and UK consumers, which kept these categories firmly at the top of the growth rankings. At home, festivities over the summer months and into autumn, spurred a flurry of searches online for clothing, with wedding dresses and Halloween outfits high up on the shopping agenda.”Dickinson also said that some of the most significant growth in searches for UK brands came from consumers in the Baltic and Balkan states and that the extension of internet access in these rapidly developing countries “presents retailers with an ideal opportunity to expand their outreach and boost overseas sales.”Martijn Bertisen, Retail Director at Google added that the data shows sustained growth from Eastern European nations, “as they benefit from increased internet accessibility via smartphone penetration.”Again, most searches in Eastern Europe were noticeably for beauty and apparel retailers. “This is a trend to watch in the coming months as we head into peak gifting season, aware that consumers’ are more empowered than ever before to find the best products, deals and service when planning Christmas,” he added.

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