2013 was reported to be a record breaking year for internet shopping in Britain, with a total of £91bn reported to have been spent in the e-retail sector - an impressive 16% rise on the figures for online shopping in 2012.
The figures, released by IMRG and Capgemini, add to a mountain of research in recent years that has highlighted significant growth in the world of e-retail. The rise and rise of internet shopping over the last several years is thought by experts to be the result of more people owning smartphones and tablets.
Head of retail and technology at Capgemini, Chris Webster, said: "This performance has been fuelled by a variety of factors, not least the huge leaps in mobile technology, which has given a whole new section of society access to the internet and enabled the more tech savvy amongst us to shop while on the move. Combined with greater choice of deliver and collection options, as well as improved retail trading, the e-retail sector has all the ingredients for on-going success."
The impact of smartphones on e-retail can't be understated, with most in the industry predicting that sales from smartphones and tablets will overtake desktop computers in a matter of years.
A representative for UKHost4u, a player in the world of web hosting, adds that a growing e-retail sector has proved fruitful for their business: "People in the web hosting industry are buzzing at the moment because it's going from strength to strength and it doesn't seem like it's going to slow down any time soon. We've certainly noticed a growth in our own customer base and the enquiries we're receiving. The reality is that the more people who go online to do their shopping, be it with smartphones or desktop computers, the more web hosting is needed, as retailers throughout the country - the world, even - are realising that to really grow as a business and make the most money they need to get online where they can reach a wider audience."
Continuing, a representative for Fife-based website hosting company UKHost4u, said: "Ultimately, in just about all cases we can think of, if your business isn't online you're missing out. It doesn't matter how successful or strong your company is in the offline world, there are still customers and clients on the internet who are slipping through the net because you don't have a website. A lot has changed over the years and with web hosts like us around web hosting is much easier and more affordable than it once was. We have professional website builders and website hosting available for £5.99 a month and £4.79 a month respectively - With packages like that available from UKHost4u there are no excuses for not having a business website."