As retailers prolong their Black Friday promotions, the shopping week now ranks above Boxing Day for search volumes on Google, while overseas interest in UK products is also growing.
Google retail director Martijn Bertisen explained: "Black Friday period is getting longer and, instead of staying up late to research the best deals, consumers are using their phones more than ever to research deals during morning commute times on Black Friday and at store opening times on Boxing Day."
According to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), total UK retail search volumes grew 3% across all devices in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter a year ago.
North & Yorkshire saw the highest share of UK retail searches, with 26%, with Greater London in second place with 23%.
Home & Garden saw the highest year-on-year growth for UK smartphone users, with growth of 27% in Q4 2017.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “The final quarter of 2017 saw modest growth in the volume of online search activity for retail products, which was driven predominantly by mobile searches once again.
“It was the weakest quarter for growth last year, but that reflects the fact that shoppers are increasingly accessing retailers’ websites via social networks and e-mail marketing, rather than using search engines. Indeed, over Black Friday, a number of retailers noted that their e-mail campaigns were particularly successful in attracting shoppers to their websites. This only serves to illustrate the importance for retailers of making the most of all their channels for communicating with shoppers.
“Interestingly, as retailers have spread out their Black Friday promotions, the popular shopping week overtook Boxing Day last year on Google search volumes, as consumers took more time to research deals. Browsing for an online bargain will likely become common practice for the increasingly discerning shopper as the squeeze on disposable income persists.”
Meanwhile, overseas searches for UK brands grew by 19% year on year in Q4 2017. Italy demonstrated the strongest year-on-year growth in searches for UK brands from the EU, reporting 30% growth in the fourth quarter of 2017.