The substantial growth of online shopping across the globe has been highlighted by new figures from the US.
According to research by comScore, a company that specialises in measuring the digital world, retail e-commerce sales in America reached a value of $43.2 billion (£27.5 billion) in the second quarter of 2012.
This figure marks an increase of 15 per cent from the same period last year and means the industry has now experienced 11 consecutive quarters of year-on-year growth.
The months from April to June 2012 also represented the seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit rises in e-commerce spending.
Consumer electronics was one of the top-performing product categories among American consumers shopping online and using parcel delivery services during the last surveyed period.
The greetings and gifts; computer hardware; apparel and accessories; and digital content and subscriptions sectors also fared well, with growth of at least 16 per cent compared to last year, according to comScore.
In the first quarter of this year, the research firm measured a year-on-year increase of 17 per cent in internet sales in the US, while in the final three months of 2011 Christmas shopping helped spending reach almost $50 billion.
Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore, said: "While the second quarter's 15 per cent growth rate couldn't quite match the especially high growth rate from the first quarter, it was nevertheless almost four times higher than the growth in overall consumer spending, a sign of continued strength in the e-commerce channel."
Online shoppers and users of cheap parcel delivery services have also contributed to significant advances in Britain's e-commerce sector in recent years.
Industry association IMRG released figures last month showing that online retail spending reached £34 billion in the first half of the year, compared to £31 billion in the first six months of 2011.
Author: Adrian Medland