UK e-commerce stores have continued to grow sales in the post-Christmas season, with travel stores and multi-channel retailers performing the best.
New figures from UK industry watchers the IMRG found that shoppers spent £5.1bn in January, roughly £83 per person, about a fifth higher than at the same time last year.
The IMRG suggested that consumers now have some disposable income available, and are opting to shop online rather than on the high street regardless of the post-Christmas bargains available in bricks and mortar stores.
This decision to shop online may also have had an impact on buying decisions, and the survey found that shoppers had invested in large items like furniture and holidays.
This change in shopping trends saw the travel sector grow by around a third, and the average holiday shopping basket ring in at £886.
"January was a very interesting month. As expected we saw a strong growth in the Index following a very weak start last year, but the jump in the travel sector and the gap between multi-channel and pure plays has come as quite a surprise," said Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, which conducted the research.
"In regards to the surge in travel, it seems that the British consumer is looking ahead to sunnier times and taking full advantage of the big new year sales offered by the major travel operators."
Homes and gardens also saw growth, and the sector posted a year-on-year growth of 56 per cent to take average basket spend up to £120.
Sellers with the largest multi-channel presence appear to be performing the best, seeing sales grow against December by 30 per cent. This time last year sales grew by only eight per cent.
"Multi-channel retailers performed well last month with sales growing by almost a third compared with January last year, but the pure plays and catalogue retailers saw annual growth dip to eight per cent, following a year of steady growth in 2010," said Tina Spooner, director of information at IMRG.
Online payment software firm PayPoint agreed that it had seen an increase in transactions among its customers, and credited the ease of online shopping with the improved early year sales.
"Our data showed a 42 per cent increase in the number of online transactions in January compared with this time last year, and we also saw a significant increase in total consumer spend," said Michael Norton, managing director of PayPoint.
"We are seeing a growing number of consumers turn to the convenience and better prices that only online retailers can offer."
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