The increasing ubiquity of smartphones and tablets has contributed to a boost in the total retail search volumes over the first quarter of 2012, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Data from the BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor has indicated UK couriers could be set to enjoy a boost in trade over the course of the year, with more people engaging in m-commerce and searching for items online.
Total retail search volumes jumped by 11 per cent over Q1, while mobile and tablet search volumes leapt by 132 per cent on a year-on-year basis, indicating more consumer confidence in m-commerce and the increasing market penetration enjoyed by smartphones in the UK.
Retail searches on mobile devices peaked two weeks before Mother's Day, possibly due to people searching for gifts using their phones or tablets.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson pointed to the contraction in household budgets caused by the economic problems facing the UK as a key driver behind increased online retail searches, as consumers attempt to find bargains over the internet to make their money go further.
"Being able to check competitors' goods and prices while in a store is a big part of the continuing boom in retail searches via mobiles and tablets," agued the director general.
He also argued that the increase in people from overseas searching for goods from British shops could indicate a potential route towards economic growth for the sector.
"These statistics demonstrate the growth potential of online for UK retailers and the part retail can play in building a recovery based on exports, given the right conditions," Mr Robertson suggested.
His comments were recently mirrored by those of Susanne Czech, secretary general of the European Multi-Channel and Online Trade Association, who claimed that cross-border trading could be made easier by harmonising the regulations which apply to ecommerce in Europe.
Author: Gillian Walters