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Boom in online shopping

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Increasing numbers of consumers turned to the internet for their shopping in December.

New figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-retail sales index showed that online spending reached £6.8 billion in December 2010, the highest monthly figure ever.

Web spending last month represented a huge 25 per cent rise compared with the same period in 2009.

In total, UK online consumers purchased goods and services worth £58.8 billion in 2010, up by 18 per cent on the year before.

Predictions suggest that the rate of online spend will continue to accelerate this year, hitting £69 billion.

Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said: “The ongoing trend of consumers putting down the car keys and turning on their computers is only set to continue, particularly as consumers use the power of the web to make their money go further as the economy recovery remains fragile.”

The survey also indicated a growing confidence about online shopping. Clothing retailers, for example, reported a 50 per cent increase in the rate at which website visitors were converted into paying customers.