The IMRG’s annual statement says etail is growing faster than ever before, and predicts online sales in the UK will reach £78bn a year by 2010.

The group says £42bn will be spent online by UK shoppers in 2007, up from £30.2bn last year, while worldwide online sales will hit £250bn this year.

Other highlights include:

  • 860m parcels will be shipped to the UK’s 26m internet shoppers; 33 each on average.

  • The average UK online shopper will spend £1,600.

  • 38% of online shopping takes place outside normal shop hours, either before 9am or after 6pm, peaking between 7pm and 9pm.

  • UK e-commerce grew 3,500% between April 2000 and December 2006.

  • Internet shoppers will spend £78bn a year online by 2010 – doubling online’s share of retail sales to 20%.

The £42bn figure for UK online sales is equivalent to the annual turnover of the nation’s biggest retailer Tesco.

Tesco recently announced that its online sales during the year reached £1.226bn, with profits of £83.4m. The supermarket giant’s sales rose by 29.2% and profits were up by 48.5% on last year.

Tesco.com now has over 850,000 regular online grocery customers ordering 250,000 orders a week.