What are online shoppers searching for – and what does that tell you about your business?
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Paul Skeldon
16th March 2017
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Performance marketing technology company Criteo has published the top online retail searches conducted in the UK in 2017 – and it turns out the washing machine tops the list as being the most searched item of the year.

The study also reveals that homewares make up one in four searches in 2017, with Toasters (#5), Table Lamps (#10) and Cookers (#14) leading the way as shoppers shift their focus from Christmas gifting to home improvement.

Furniture represents 19 of the most-searched terms with desks (#2), Single Beds (#3) and Tables (#4) in the top 10, demonstrating the power of online for research into purchases.

Fresh and chilled grocery search terms beat store cupboard items by more than 300% as shoppers begin to transition the purchase of perishable items to online. Milk (#12) and Bread (#15) become online staples too.

Earrings (#11) and Rings (#23) make the list, while Engagement Rings are #227 as the romance of February’s Valentine’s Day impacts Britain’s browsing. This data suggests that important or expensive purchases are researched and purchased both on and offline.

The top ten most searched terms in 2017:

  1. washing machine
  2. desk
  3. single beds
  4. table
  5. toaster
  6. fridge freezer
  7. fancy dress
  8. boots
  9. phones
  10. table lamps

But that isn’t the real headline: that belongs to mobile, where 52% of those searches took place.

With 52% of ecommerce transactions in the UK now taking place on a smartphone, says the company, the new data highlights the omnichannel nature of shopping today. High demand for online search for items regularly bought both on and offline, coupled with increasing mobile sales demonstrates an increasingly fluid shopping process, not segregated into distinct ecommerce and bricks-and-mortar shopping experiences.

The 2017 search trends coupled with the increase in mobile ecommerce conversion rates demonstrates the multi-channel nature of the modern shopper.

“The way that people research, shop and buy products has fundamentally changed. As shoppers move back and forth from devices and online to offline shopping, holistic marketing is no longer a nice to have but represents a genuine marketing priority,” says Jonathan Opdyke, President, Criteo Sponsored Products. “The 2017 search data is a testament to those changing behaviours. Items that we would once simply pop to the shops for such as milk and bread have become prevalent within peoples’ online searches, while bigger ticket items that we would typically want to touch and try are also making an appearance. Clearly, for retailers, it is no longer sufficient to have multiple channels: the store, website, app, catalogue. The key to success lies in connecting shopper journeys across all of these owned assets. Equally, for brands it is in the understanding of the complex path to purchase that efficiency and effectiveness of their strategies can be achieved. Data is the enabler. Data, and understanding it, is the difference between multichannel and omnichannel.”

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Author: Paul Skeldon
Editor specialising in all things mobile.
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