A 100% year-on-year increase in searches for retail-related terms on tablet devices has hammered home the importance of responsive web design to a whole new extent.

Tablets have been the fastest growing source of retail searches for several months, and the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor report confirms that this was still the case in Q3 2013.

At 100%, the annual growth on tablets substantially outpaces other devices, with smartphones following behind on 58%.

Interestingly, desktop searches for retail-related terms are actually on the decline, by 10% year-on-year, highlighting the shift to mobile searches and the importance of responsive web design for desktop sites that might otherwise not work on a touchscreen or low-resolution display, or on a device without Flash or Java support.

The overall growth in retail-related searches now stands at 12%, indicating that there is still a growing market to be reached, provided you have the right website functionality and online marketing activities.

UK online retailers may also want to consider whether or not they are able to sell to international customers, as the figures also show a 23% increase in non-UK consumers searching UK retail sites in the year to Q3 2013.

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