Click to buy: £1 in every £8 now spent online

But online sales growth softened in snow-less November...

But online sales growth softened in snow-less November...

Around £1 in every £8 spent on retail is now spent online, according to stats from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released today.

In November, the value of internet retail sales was estimated at £787.9m - or approximately 12.2 per cent of UK retail sales - the ONS figures show, rising from £593.4m or 9.5 per cent of sales in November 2010.

The ONS has charted a steady rise in online retail spending over the past five years: in November 2006 around £1 in every £33 was spent online.

Online shopping

Rise of e-tail: £1 in every £8 now spent onlineImage: Shutterstock

Despite this general trend of increasing online retail spending, the UK's online sales market softened in November, with lower than expected growth, according to the IMRG CapGemini e-Retail Sales Index, published this week.

The index was up 11 per cent on November 2010 - slightly below IMRG and CapGemini's forecast of growth of between 12 and 14 per cent. This compares to November 2010's growth of 22 per cent year-on-year.

IMRG and CapGemini said the strong growth of online sales last November may have been helped by early snow fall - meaning stuck-at-home consumers were more likely to need to get their retail fix online. This November's online sales growth dip is also likely to mirror wider retail trends, with cash-strapped consumers spending more cautiously both offline and online in tough economic climes.

Specific sectors suffering poor online sales performance include clothing, which recorded year-on-year growth of eight per cent - its lowest rise since May 2009 - and alcohol, which recorded year-on-year growth of just two per cent. Travel has also been hit hard, according to the index, growing just four per cent year-on-year.

But there were some bright spots. Having suffered poor performance throughout the year, the electrical sector has returned to form, the index records - with growth of 14 per cent year-on-year, and 47 per cent month-on-month.

Health and beauty also had a solid month, rising 30 per cent year-on-year, and 63 per cent month-on-month. Accessories also swelled, with 40 per cent growth year-on-year, and a 76 per cent rise month-on-month.

According to the index £7.1bn was spent online in November - the first time the £7bn mark has been broken in a single month.