Cheap parcel delivery and other services linked to the online retail sector could see significant growth in the UK this year if Britain follows recent trends emerging in the US.
Figures for the first quarter of 2012 from digital business analytics provider comScore showed that online retail spending in America reached a level of $44.3 billion (£27.6 billion) during the period.
This figure represents a rise of 17 per cent from the first three months of 2011.
Expenditure by internet shoppers in America has now experienced ten consecutive quarters of year-on-year growth and six consecutive quarters of double-digit increases.
The top-performing product categories for the country's online retail sector at the beginning of 2012 included jewellery and watches, consumer electronics and event tickets, all of which grew by at least 17 per cent from last year.
Figures from comScore also highlight the growing importance of handheld devices for web shopping, with 38 per cent of tablet owners saying they used their gadget to make a purchase within the past month.
Clothing was the most popular product category for people using tablets to buy things on the internet.
Responding to the figures, comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said the first quarter of the year was "especially strong" for retail e-commerce, with growth rates at levels that have not been seen since 2007.
"While the economic recovery continues to be painfully slow, the channel shift to e-commerce appears to be accelerating," he added.
"E-commerce has reached critical mass in several product categories and it will be important to monitor these sales trends by category in order to correctly gauge the impact e-commerce is having on overall retailer performance."
The latest internet search statistics from comScore show that Google sites led the core search market in April, with a 66.5 per cent share, followed by Microsoft platforms with 15.4 per cent.
Author: Adrian Medland