Record sales onlineHuge growth in online music sales

13 February 2006

British shoppers spent a record GBP 8.2 billion online last year - with one in four people now buying goods on the internet.

Market analyst Verdict reports that internet shopping sales are up by more than a quarter on 2004. This rate of growth vastly outstrips the trend for sales in general.

The figures, released today, show that the number of online shoppers rose by a quarter to 14.6 million between 2004 and 2005. Verdict's Senior Retail Analyst Nick Gladding said the internet allowed customers to trawl for the lowest prices and shop at times which suited them. Online stores were 'formidable competitors' to their high-street counterparts.

Silver surfers

People aged 55 and over are a particularly lucrative market for online shops, according to Verdict. The number of 'silver surfers' nearly doubled to 2.7 million between 2004 and 2005; their online spending rose by nearly half, to an average GBP 458 per head.

But shoppers aged 35 to 44 are the biggest spenders, accounting for GBP 3 in every GBP 10 of online sales. Women typically spent GBP 579 online last year compared with GBP 543 spent by men. Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), which represents some of Britain's largest internet stores, says online shopping is currently growing 130 times faster than high-street sales. It estimates that online shoppers will spend more than GBP 1,000 each this year.