Online shopping is booming in the UK, according to a new retail report.
Market analysts Verdict found the internet was the fastest growing retail sector last year, attracting one in four shoppers.
With growth rates at 27.4%, the figures for buying online are six times better than for the traditional retail market over the last year, it says.
Part of this success is because of the trebling of shoppers using broadband connections, the company says.
The analysts suggested that people were not only shopping in greater numbers but were also spending more as companies improved the quality of their online offerings.
More people are also shopping through their televisions and channels like QVC, which grew by nearly 15% last year.
Yet in the high street, the amount of goods ordered in-store for home delivery dropped by 16%, in spite of the overall increase in the home delivery market.
The Verdict report calculated that £1 in every £7 spent in the British retail sector in 2004 was on goods delivered to the doorstep.
A survey of 2,000 adult shoppers suggested the most popular goods for home delivery were books, music and videos, with 20% of those questioned having ordered such items.
The next most popular purchase was electrical goods – 19% – followed by clothing. The Verdict report says: “The home delivery market has been transformed from the days when it catered largely for catalogue-shopping, cash-conscious housewives.”