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Younger consumers want retailers to embrace image searching

13 September 2013 - 09:24 by Sarah Collinson

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A new report published by WeSEE, reveals that 74 per cent of British consumers under the age of 34 would like to see retailers and search providers embracing image search capabilities, moving away from traditional keyword-oriented querying.

A thousand people participated in the study, according to Retail Gazette and 40 per cent said that they would like their experience of shopping online to become richer in terms of the visuals and imagery it involves.

Using text-based searching has been the standard for browsing the web for years, but if you do not know the name of the product or service you are seeking, but have access to an image, then being able to search using this approach can be beneficial.

There are already search engines which can offer image search, but this is a technology that is still in its infancy.

The survey looked at the way that consumers use images online and 16 per cent of respondents said that they might even be interested in getting product recommendations based on the types of pics that they have shared via social networking.

This would be a good way for services like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to further monetise the activities of users, although the majority seem uncertain about the benefits of image-targeted advertising.

The growth of interest in image searching could well be fuelled by the rise of smartphones and tablets. People are used to being able to point their phone's camera at a QR code and scan it, to get access to information and offers when out and about, so broadening this capability seems like a natural progression.

There are technical issues which need to be overcome in order to make image searching a core part of safe shopping online, but retailers will need to take heed of the younger generation's desire for this tool.