Christmas shopping helped UK internet retailers to cash in on a record £3bn of online spending in November.
Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) estimates that £3.26bn was spent online during the month, at an average rate of £4.57m per hour, approximately 45 per cent more than in the same period last year.
November's internet sales were more than £500m higher than those of the previous month, when the IMRG Index recorded a value of £2.72bn for October.
This increase was 10 times the average monthly increase of £50m recorded during the first 10 months of 2006.
During the same 10-month period two years ago, the average growth rate was just £16m per month.
"Internet shopping is hugely attractive for consumers, especially at Christmas, as these figures show," said IMRG chief executive James Roper.
"The November values are in line with our earlier forecasts and confirm that we are likely to see a total of £7bn being spent online by UK shoppers in the 10-week run-up to Christmas.
"Although no longer a surprise, growth of this magnitude is nevertheless breathtaking. Christmas trading in 2000 was worth well under £500m, and we thought that was huge at the time.
"Now we can see that the e-retail market is just getting into its stride, and has large potential for long-term growth."
Chris Russell, a director at eDigital Research, added: "The internet sets expectations of instant intelligent response, so our new IMRG Customer Service Index will employ large-scale real-time research to check on just how well suppliers are either meeting or dashing their customers' hopes.
"Early results are surprisingly positive, although there is evidently much room for improvement.
"Consumers are telling the marketplace very clearly what they want, and brands that listen and respond appropriately have every opportunity to thrive in the e-retail age."
Christian Robinson, managing director of Firebox.com, reported that November was "a great month" for the online retailer, which saw its sales jump by nearly 30 per cent against last year's figures.
Alex Croft, managing director of Game Group's online business, said: "The expectations of Game's customers have increased steadily over the past 24 months."
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