Internet retailers had a bumper January sales season, according to the industry body Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG)
Its index of 60 of the UK's largest online retailers shows that Britons spent £4.5bn on internet shopping last month. Sales were up nearly one-third year-on-year, with electrical goods and clothes selling strongly.
Sales in the electrical sector rose by 38 per cent compared with the same month last year, while clothing was up 32 per cent. The next fastest-growing sectors were health and beauty, where sales volumes rose by 18 per cent, and beers, wines and spirits, up 9.8 per cent.
"The high growth in electricals and clothing suggests that much of this spending is being driven by shoppers treating themselves to items that were missing from their Christmas stockings," said Anthoula Madden, vice-president at IMRG.
"The index shows that January sales are as big online as they are on the high street."