Online shopping is rising from the flames

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The Independent Online

Online shopping is booming, according to recent research. While the high street is experiencing stagnant sales, shoppers are flocking to the internet.

Online shopping is booming, according to recent research. While the high street is experiencing stagnant sales, shoppers are flocking to the internet.

More than £10bn was spent online in the past 12 months, compared to £5.5bn in the previous 12 months, according to a survey of 2,000 adults by Continental Research. The number of homes with internet access has also increased.

"Confidence has returned to the sector, and companies offering online services are starting to reap the rewards," said Colin Shaddick, a director at the research company. UK online retailers, such as Lastminute.com, Amazon and ebookers, have reported growing sales in recent months.

British consumers are more willing to spend online. The survey found that 22 million internet users spent an average of £470 each in the past 12 months, totalling £10bn, double the previous year's figures. Men of higher social class and those aged 35 to 44 were the most likely to spend. CDs, DVDs, books, airline tickets, entertainment tickets and computer-related goods were most popular.

The most common activities online are using a Hotmail account, accessing travel maps and checking bank statements. Nearly a third of internet users downloaded music - a worrying figure for the music companies whose profits are being eroded by illegal file-sharing online.

The proportion of UK homes with internet access has increased from 41 per cent a year ago to 50 per cent now. "With many online services now being promoted and the increasing availability of broadband, home internet connections continue to grow at a healthy rate," stated the research.

The growth in the number of homes with broadband has gone up from 750,000 last year to 2.4 million.

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