Shoppers scouting for sales bargains spent more online than in any previous January, according to figures out yesterday.
The increase was boosted by people trying to avoid hectic high streets, according to the Interactive Media in Retail Group.
Online spending in the UK hit £4.5 billion last month - a 75 per cent upturn on January 2007.
Electrical goods and clothes were especially popular as shoppers looked for sales bargains.
January's spending was still a decrease compared to December's record £5.42 billion online festive spend.
Spending on electrical goods over the internet last month was up 38 per cent compared to January 2007 while clothing increased by 32 per cent.
The beers, wines and spirits sector saw lower year-on-year growth of 9.8 per cent last month while health and beauty products rose 18 per cent over the same period.
The figures were produced by the IMRG Capgemini e-retail sales index. IMRG managing director Jo Evans said larger retailers had a particularly successful January.
"The internet is clearly allowing shoppers to make the most of sales periods and avoid the hectic high streets," she said.
The e-retail sales index tracks online transactions based on data from about 60 retailers who sell online.