Online home and garden searches surge as UK housing market booms

Searches for home and garden products online surged by 15% in Q3 2014 compared to Q3 2013, driven by the UK’s booming housing market, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said on Monday. The BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor reported that smartphone searches grew by 41% compared to tablets which expanded by 22%.

Helen Dickinson, BRC Director General, said:

“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.”

It is not surprising, Ms. Dickinson added, that consumers are going online to furnish and decorate their homes as well as finding mortgages to purchase them.

The BRC believes that the increasingly strong housing market sales in these categories is likely to be directly influenced by house sales.

Smartphone Searching

Growth in smartphone searches is outpacing tablet searches.

The Monitor also found that smaller items tend to be searched more on smartphones, while beds and larger products feature more prominently across all devices.

However, Ms. Dickinson also noted that the further down the ranking one goes, the greater the range of products, suggesting that people have become increasingly more comfortable searching across a broader variety of items while on-the-go today.

Google’s Retail Director, Peter Fitzgerald, said:

“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.”