UK shoppers will soon have spent more than £100bn since internet shopping began, according to figures from the IMRG.

The etail group says that the first online transaction in the UK took place in April 1995 - the purchase of a book from WH Smith via CompuServe.

In the 12 years since that transaction, the UK's online shoppers have spent almost £100bn, with the mark set to be reached later this month. Last month, online sales totalled £3.46bn, a rise of 55% on April 2006.

According to IMRG MD Jo Evans:

"April's online sales were worth about the same in one month as London's West End takes in a year."

Last month, the IMRG predicted that online sales would reach the £42bn mark in 2007, a rise of 40% on last year's figure of £30bn, and hit £78bn by 2010.

Travel is the biggest online sector, with sales of £7bn in the UK last year, closely followed by electricals at £5bn.

Despite the early interest in e-commerce and a planned website launch in 1996, WH Smith failed to capitalise, showing a shocking lack of foresight by making its interactive media team redundant as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

Graham Charlton

Published 18 May, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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