By Claire West

The number of UK online searches for PCs and laptops, DVD players and recorders, MP3 players, cameras and camcorders, totalled 11.4 million in June, a 24% decrease on May’s 14.9 million. This is according to the latest independent research from Greenlight, a leading search and social marketing agency. Greenlight’s ‘Brown Goods Sector Report, June 2010’, also shows May’s search levels were likewise down by one million when compared to March’s 16.5 million, which had gone up 9% on February’s volume.

Greenlight used industry data and proprietary technology to identify and classify 940 of the most popular search terms used by UK consumers when they performed brown goods-related searches in Google. It aggregated the number of times each term was used in April, May and June to give an indication of the total number of searches. Greenlight also used the data to compile its quarterly league tables. They chart the 60 best performing websites and brands, in both natural and paid search, based on their online visibility and share of voice in relation to the most popular search terms identified. The 15 most proactive brands and aggregators in social media were also ranked.

Some key findings reveal:

* Whilst entertainment product terms (which include MP3 players, personal video players, audio and iPod products, and brand terms such as Logitech and Apple), were the most searched for in June (4.3 million accounting for 38% of overall searches), search volumes dropped by almost two million when compared to March’s 6.2 million

* ‘iPod’, was the most queried term, accounting for 1.2 million searches in June (11%). However, this was a drop when compared to March’s 1.8 million. ‘Televisions’ and ‘Laptops’ followed, accounting for 7% and 5% of searches, respectively

* In natural search, Wikipedia was the most visible website for brown goods-related keyword searches, achieving 58% share of voice. Amazon was the best performing retailer with 57% visibility, ranking at position one for 114 of the 940 keywords analysed. PCWorld followed with 31%. Its visibility increased by 6% since Greenlight’s previous report, moving it up to third position from fourth

* Argos lost the greatest share of voice (9%) and therefore it dropped from fifth to tenth position in Greenlight’s league table ranking the 60 most visible brown goods websites in natural search

* Despite considerable offline marketing activity, Comet and Dixons, the high street retailers, achieved low visibility in natural search, which saw their websites rank at positions 23 and 41 respectively

* JohnLewis replaced Amazon to become the most visible advertiser for brown goods in paid search, attaining 50% visibility. With a 41% share of visibility, Amazon, in second position, lost 2% visibility since Greenlight’s March report

* Of the top 10 advertisers, seven were retailers, two were brown goods manufacturers (although Sony and Dell also act as retailers) and one aggregator

With Greenlight predicting a surge in online searches for brown goods in September as the festive season approaches, retailers of these products are advised to attend to bolstering their online strategies now.

“There will be an increase in searches in the months leading up to Christmas, starting in September as there will be a significant number of consumers who will search for and purchase electrical goods as potential gifts”, says Simon Hollingsworth, lead Researcher at Greenlight.

“Retailers would be best advised to prepare now if they wish maximize their chances of netting a sizeable share of this traffic.”