Though online retail sales are still on the up, new figures from IMRG suggest that this growth may be slowing, as sales in March grew by 19%, less than the same month in 2008.

These are still encouraging figures in a recession though, and it shows the strength of the online retail sector; e-commerce offerings have improved in the last few years, while more shoppers recognise that the internet is the place to find value for money.

Our Online Shopping and Credit Crunch Survey Report from last August predicted that online retail spending would continue, with 56% of respondents saying they would continue to spend the same or more online as they were already, though finding the best price would naturally become more important.

The IMRG stats, quoted in Retail Week, show that clothing, footwear and accessories is the fastest growing sector online, with sales up 26% year on year. Having taken their time to get going online, clothing and fashion brands are reaping the benefits of selling online, though some well known brands are yet to take the plunge

Some companies are still growing their online sales at impressive rates though; Game Group released its preliminary results and reported that e-commerce sales and operating profits rose by 85% and 109% respectively year on year.

Stats from Hitwise this week broadly back up the IMRG figures, showing UK internet traffic to the shopping and classifieds category at a lower level than in the same period last year:

Hitwise traffic to key online categories

The Hitwise stats also show fashion as the fastest growing online retail sector, with a decline in traffic since Christmas for electrical retailers and department stores. And, suggesting that online shoppers are looking for bargains more than ever, traffic to classifieds websites has grown 15% year on year.