With the UK still recovering from the recession, it has been a tough few years for retailers who have seen sales slump.
The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index have shown a better than expected sales performance for online retail in January 2014.
Although online sales dropped by 26% in December, sales were up by 18% on the previous year, with an estimated £8.1bn spent online. These results are more than the expected 17% growth for the year, and reflects the growth of consumer confidence.
There has also been an increase in the average basket value in January. Excluding travel, British shoppers spent an average of £78 online in January, up from £76 in December and £74 in January 2013.
Many sectors recorded growth in January, including home and garden which was up 21%; and health and beauty which saw an increase of 23% year-on-year.
The travel sector saw the biggest growth and most confident start to 2014, recording a monthly rise of 233%. This is the highest ever month-on-month growth the Index has recorded for the travel sector, which was up 16% on the same period last year.
Tina Spooner, IMRG's CIO spoke to CBR about the results: "During 2013 the online retail market grew ahead of our expectations and for the first time in years years we saw growth accelerate from the previous year. We expect online sales growth to continue in double digits throughout 2014, reaching 17% annual growth by the end of the year. Our latest research reveals the majority of this growth can be attributed to the growing influence of mobile commerce and, with 70% of UK consumers now owning a smartphone and 45% using tablet devices, it is likely we will see mobile account for a significant share of the UK e-retail market by the end of the year."