Record Online Xmas Sales Boost Festive Figures

Increasing use of tablets and smartphones and speedy delivery times are the major factors behind a sharp rise in online shopping before Christmas.

Web sales growth accelerated to 19.2% compared with the same month in 2012 - the fastest rate for more than three years.

The data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) survey carried out by KPMG showed online trade represented 18.6% of total non-food sales in December, up from 16.5% the year before.

David McCorquodale, KPMG head of retail, said: "Whilst store sales continue to flatline, online sales remain the main driver of growth for the sector, contributing nearly three quarters of the uptick in non-food sales in the last quarter of 2013.

"The winners this Christmas were those retailers with slick multichannel operations, who could offer consumers the flexibility to shop how, and when, they wanted to."