By Daniel Hunter

Total retail search volumes grew 8% in the third quarter of 2012 compared with the same quarter a year earlier, the British Retail Consortium have revealed.

Searches on tablet devices continue to grow, accounting for 42% of total Mobile searches in Q3, up from 40% in Q2 2012.

Total search volumes from overseas consumers rose by 33% in Q3 compared with the previous year.

There was a noticeable drop in retail searches on Mobile devices on Friday 27 July, the Olympics Opening Ceremony.

In the third quarter, total search volumes grew fastest for health and beauty items, up 15% year-on-year. For Mobile, growth in search volumes was highest for food and drink, up by 144% year-on-year.

Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "The popularity of tablets is the driving force behind strong growth in mobile searches. Two in five of all mobile retail searches are now undertaken on tablets despite them being far outnumbered by smartphones. Consumers find it the most convenient way to browse retailer's websites, whether they're on the move or at home.

"Food and drink was the fastest growing sector for mobile searches, demonstrating that hard-pressed customers are increasingly keen to use new technology for finding groceries at the best possible value.

"Most non-food areas saw strong growth in overall searches, with health and beauty performing particularly well. The signs are, the combination of limited spending power and faster, easier access to information will drive an even more competitive Christmas for retailers. And with 4G looming, this trend is likely to accelerate."

Peter Fitzgerald, Retail Director, Google, said: "Despite a tough trading environment in Q3, queries continued to grow at a steady rate of 8 per cent this summer. Alongside the high street, we saw a drop in overall retail traffic during the Olympic and Paralympic games. Mobile, however, continued to grow - now representing nearly a quarter of overall traffic.

"This reflects the growing trend that people are engaging with multiple screens at once - browsing their tablet and smartphone devices whilst watching TV. Interestingly, tablet penetration is largely driving mobile query growth. Sundays and bank holidays continue to be big days, with the August Bank Holiday seeing a peak in search queries across devices and mobile traffic significantly increasing on Sundays."

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