Research from Google Australia shows 2012 will be Australia’s biggest online Christmas yet.

An over 20 per cent increase in shopping-related searches year-over-year was recorded by Google as Christmas shoppers take to the web to research gift ideas, place orders, shop online and seek out retail outlets and shops making it imperative for retailers to be found via all devices for a successful Christmas.

The research also uncovered that 40 per cent of shopping searches are now coming from smartphones or tablets. Overall, the number of queries coming from mobile devices including tablets has more than doubled over the past 12 months.

According to Ross McDonald, Google Australia’s industry leader for local & retail, this means retailers need to be found all screens.

“As consumers branch out from smartphones into new types of devices like tablets, the mobile revolution is expanding to multiple screens. That means the real moral of this year’s Christmas story is that retailers need to mobilise, and fast,” he said.

“It is no longer enough for businesses to get online, they need to be found wherever the web is, on every screen, or risk losing out.”

But businesses have yet to heed this Christmas lesson with Google estimating that only one in three has a mobile friendly website.

According to research conducted by Google, two in three customers say mobile friendly sites make them more likely to buy or use a good or service – while half say that a bad mobile experience makes them less likely to engage with a company.

What’s more, consumers often move between screens as they research their purchases: they may begin by looking for a gift or store location on mobile and then go on to make their final purchases in a physical store or on desktop. That means that poor mobile websites can affect brick-and-mortar sales as well as traffic to desktop sites.

“We’ve always said that Christmas is a marathon that ends in a sprint,” said McDonald. “Businesses should build a multi-screen web presence that helps them through the race and over the finish line in top form.”