Web sees huge surge in overseas shoppers for UK retailers

New BRC and Google figures show UK retailers are reaping the rewards of investing in online

Web sees huge surge in overseas shoppers for UK retailers

With UK households experiencing tighter constraints on their income, retailers are looking to overseas consumers to expand their revenues. It will therefore come as music to their ears to hear that their efforts to improve online shopping for international customers has been met with a positive response. According to new stats from the lobbying organisation British Retail Consortium (BRC) and tech giant Google, a boost in online sales in Q4 2013 is very much down to increased traffic from overseas.

The findings reveal that the number of UK consumers searching on smartphones for overseas retailers rose by 28% year-on-year, and by 43% on tablets. However, more positively, there was a 64% year-on-year increase in the amount of overseas consumers searching for UK retail brands on smartphones, and a 41% rise in the volume of searches by tablets.

German shoppers certainly appear to have caught a British brand bug. The country holds the title for the most substantial growth rates on smartphone searches for UK retail sites, boasting an overall 231% increase. Russia and Argentina follow with rises of 145% and 137% respectively. On tablets, Germany also leads the way, seeing a percentage growth in the number of searches at 130%. Meanwhile, France and Russia delivered a respective 78% and 66% hike in UK traffic.

Indeed, all sectors experienced an increase in the volume of overseas customers searching for UK retailers on both smartphones and tablets. British department stores, however, witnessed the largest surge in searches by smartphones with a 78% increase, followed by apparel (66%) and beauty (56%). On tablets, overseas beauty enthusiasts boosted the sector growth by 51%, department stores experienced 46% growth and apparel came in at 41%.  

The figures seemingly illustrate that export was a key driver of growth for retailers over Christmas, particularly for clothing and beauty brands. Peter Fitzgerald, retail director at Google said: ‘’This Christmas mobile truly came into its own. Those retailers who invested in cross-device experiences – allowing their customers to easily find, buy and discover no matter where they are – reaped the rewards.”

It’s good to know that Team GB is holding its own on the online shopping front. 

Dara Jegede
Dara Jegede

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