Total search volumes for home and garden grew by 15% in the third quarter of 2014 compared with the same quarter a year earlier, reports the BRC. Search volumes on smartphones outpaced search volumes on tablets, with growth of 41% compared with growth on tablets of 22%.
BRC director general, Helen Dickinson, says: “This month’s monitor confirms yet again that technology is playing an increasingly significant part in all aspects of consumers’ lives. Possibly one of the biggest decisions a consumer will make, taking out a mortgage, is now heavily influenced by online research with our data showing that online mortgage searches correlate strongly with mortgage approvals.
“Given this trend, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing people take to the internet to decorate and furnish their homes as well as finding the funds to purchase them. Search volumes in the home and garden category have risen 15% compared with the same period last year. This is likely due to an increasingly healthy housing market as sales in these categories tend to be directly impacted by house sales.
“It’s also interesting to note which devices customers are using to view which categories of product. Smaller items feature more significantly in the smartphone category while ‘beds’ top the list of searches across all devices. However, the further down rankings you go, the greater the mix of products. This suggests that consumers are becoming more and more comfortable searching for a wider variety of products on-the-go than has previously been the case.”
Peter Fitzgerald, retail director at Google, says: "Home and Garden continues to be one of the fastest growing online retail sectors with 15% YoY growth in the third quarter. A warm July led to slower YoY growth but that changed in August when ex-hurricane Bertha came to the UK leading to a marked increase in home searches. The August bank holiday also brought an increase in home searches as the UK looked to home improvement over the last long weekend before Christmas. Furniture and furnishings were particularly popular this summer as we used the summer to redecorate. While garden searches grew slower this quarter - evidence of the early summer we had this year."
While search volumes for home and garden related products increased on the previous month in Q3 2014, the equivalent for tablets decreased. Search volumes on smartphones experienced the highest year-on-year growth in September 2014, up 43%.
The growth rate of searches volumes on all devices for Living Room Furniture outpaced all other home and garden categories in Q3 2014. Lights & Lighting and Home Décor & Interior Decorating experienced the most rapid growth on smartphones in Q3 2014. Searches for Blinds, Shades & Shutters experienced the fastest tablet growth.
All countries and regions of the UK have experienced growth in home and garden search volumes across all devices but most significantly in smartphone searches. Consumers searching for home and garden related goods on smartphones and tablets grew most rapidly in Wales, 73% and 33% up on a year ago, respectively. Greater London experienced the largest growth across all devices for home and garden searches.
London accounted for 28% of the total proportion of home and garden searches in Q3 2014, the highest in all the regions and countries of the UK, followed by the South East (13%) and North West (10%). The proportion of home and garden searches in Northern Ireland (2%), Wales (3%) and the North West (3%) are the lowest in the UK.