Retail search volumes on tablets outpaced those on any other device in the fourth quarter of last year.
The British Retail Consortium-Google Online Retail Monitor for Q4 2012 shows that they were up 238% year-on-year compared with growth on smartphone devices of 76%.
Total retail search volumes growth was highest in the homewares, footwear, DIY/gardening and furniture/floorcoverings sectors: in the homewares sector specifically, tablet search volumes were up 257% while smartphone search volumes were up 96%.
Retail searches peaked on Boxing Day, with more than twice the volume of searches compared with Christmas Eve. And total search volumes from overseas consumers rose by 25% in Q4 compared with the previous year.
Commenting on the figures, BRC director general Helen Dickinson 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, especially when researching items and comparing prices both at home and on the move.
“Retailers continue to invest in their online offer, and more and more of us are reaping the resulting benefits of more flexible delivery options, user-friendly websites and improved accessibility and security.
“Much of this growth is driven by the continuing surge in smartphone and tablet ownership. Tablet searches outpaced those on any other device and were particularly widespread on Boxing Day when many used them to get a head start on the sales.”
And she added that the UK’s position “at the forefront of international e-commerce” was underlined by the growth in searches from overseas to UK retailers’ sites.