Internet shopping was the fastest growing retail sector last year, with one in four UK shoppers making purchases on the Web.
According to research by market analyst Verdict, online shopping grew 27.4% in 2004, six times higher than for traditional high street stores.
The research shows that the rise is partly due to the increasing number of UK consumers with broadband connections and improvements in the quality and range of goods available online and
Overall, the report calculated that £1 in every £7 spent in the UK retail sector in 2004 was on goods delivered to the doorstep, which includes purchases made online, via TV shopping channels or in-store for home delivery.
Commenting on the findings, Matthew Timms, Internet and ATM director at UK bank Lloyds TSB, says: "The Internet has now truly caught on as a fast and convenient way for consumers to shop."
Timms says the bank's online services have also experienced growth. The bank recently implemented simulation technology from VeriSIM to drive up the number of customers registered for its Web banking services.
The VeriSIM system allow customers to practice Internet banking transactions on a replica site before moving on to use real online services.
Timms says: "It's impossible to ignore the huge part the Internet will play in the future of shopping and banking alike."