UK house price boom bolsters web shopping

Chris Papadopoullos
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HOUSE price gains helped fuel consumer spending over the past year with new research suggesting a substantial rise in internet searches for home and garden products.

Total search volumes for home and garden products grew by 15 per cent in the third quarter of 2014 compared with the same quarter in 2013, figures released today by Google and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reveal.

“This is likely due to an increasingly healthy housing market as sales in these categories tend to be directly impacted by house sales,” said BRC director general Helen Dickin­son.

Recent data from the Halifax suggested that house prices rose by 9.6 per cent in the year to September.

Meanwhile, furniture sales were 10.6 per cent higher than last year, according to preliminary estimates by the Office for National Statistics released last week.

Today’s research from the BRC finds that search volumes on smartphones outpaced those on tablets, growing 41 per cent annually as opposed to 22 per cent a year for tablets.

“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,” Dickinson said.

A disproportionate amount of the growth was seen in London, which also experienced the largest house price rises. London acc­ount­ed for 28 per cent of home and garden searches the third quarter while housing only around 13 per cent of the nation’s population.

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