By Marcus Leach

Total retail search volumes grew at their fast rate this year increasing by 35% in the third quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier.

The increase was driven by a rise in mobile search volumes of 168% year-on-year. The growth of retail search volumes for multi-channel retailers (usually those using stores and the internet) reached 26% in the third quarter of 2011 compared with 71% for pure online retailers.

The number of overseas consumers searching for UK retailers grew by 34% in the third quarter of 2011 compared with the same quarter a year earlier. The number of UK consumers searching for overseas retailers grew by 78% in the second quarter of 2011 compared with the same period a year earlier.

Mobile accounted for 10% of retail searches.

"Mounting pressures on household budgets may be generating more online retail searches as people work harder to compare prices and track down value," Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium Director General said.

"While searches grew 35 per cent, their fastest this year, the British Retail Consortium's (BRC's) Retail Sales Monitor show growth in online spending has actually slowed to 10 per cent suggesting extra searches are a symptom of bargain hunting.

"Even so, online retailing is still expanding quickly compared with selling through stores and searching from mobile devices is showing the most dramatic increase. Retailers are engaging with, and encouraging, this shift in shopping behaviour by providing more and easier ways to search and shop via smartphones and tablets."

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