UK retail retains strong brand appeal overseas, says Google

The volume of overseas customers searching for UK retailers grew 23% across all devices in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter a year ago, according the latest Google Online Retail Monitor.

In the UK, search volumes on mobile devices increased 16% in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter last year.

Research conducted by Google in collaboration with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) also reveals that apparel was the most searched for sector by overseas consumers on mobile devices, reporting growth of 64% in Q4 2016.

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Croatia demonstrated the strongest appetite for UK retailers, reporting a 106% increase on mobile devices in the fourth quarter of 2016.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Digital continued to play a pivotal role in driving sales for UK retailers in the final quarter of 2016. In December, the online penetration rate for non-food remained above 20% for the fifteenth consecutive month and the channel won its greatest share of Black Friday and Christmas sales to date. It is no surprise therefore that today’s figures, which show high double digit growth of mobile search volumes across most UK brand categories, are consistent with this trend.

“This quarter’s figures provide further evidence that the EU is an increasingly important market for UK retailers and that consumers from the continent are increasingly likely to be experiencing the British retail offer through their smartphones,” she added.

“The challenges and opportunity for UK retailers to capitalise on this rapid growth persist and British businesses remain focused on tailoring their e-commerce offer to utilise the strength and popularity of UK retail beyond our own borders, which shows little sign of diminishing.”

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