Record Online Xmas Sales Boost Festive Figures
Increasing use of tablets and smartphones and speedy delivery times are the major factors behind a sharp rise in online shopping before Christmas.
Web sales growth accelerated to 19.2% compared with the same month in 2012 - the fastest rate for more than three years.
However, overall UK retail sales grew by just 0.4% on a like-for-like basis.
The data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) survey carried out by KPMG showed online trade represented 18.6% of total non-food sales in December, up from 16.5% the year before.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "More of us clicked into Christmas than ever before, with online non-food sales growth putting in its best performance since March 2010 and accounting for nearly 20% of spending.
"The surge in the use of tablets and smartphones last year, together with the ever-faster delivery times achieved by an increasing number of retailers, has provided a new spur of growth to online shopping."
David McCorquodale, KPMG head of retail, said: "Whilst store sales continue to flatline, online sales remain the main driver of growth for the sector, contributing nearly three quarters of the uptick in non-food sales in the last quarter of 2013.
"The winners this Christmas were those retailers with slick multichannel operations, who could offer consumers the flexibility to shop how, and when, they wanted to."
In clothing, online purchases represented 21.2% of sales in December, up from 18% in 2012, while furniture and flooring products bought on the internet represented nearly a third of all sales, at 32.4% - though this was down a little on 32.6% last year.
The figure for electrical goods and toys was 14.4%, up from last year's 11.9% but a fall on the 15.5% who shopped online for these goods in November.
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