UK shoppers spend more on goods over the internet than anywhere else in Europe, according to new research.
The e-retail boom has pushed the UK ahead of Germany in terms of annual online spending.
That amount hit 9.79 billion euros last year (£6.74 billion) compared with a Europe-wide total of 40.2 billion euros (£27.7 billion).
The sector has enjoyed a "phenomenal" growth of 51 per cent since 2004, according to market analysts Mintel.
But online spending still only makes up only two per cent of total European retail sales.
The continent's e-retail market is set to growth by a further 186 per cent between 2005 and 2010, Mintel's E-Commerce in the UK report predicts.
Senior retail analyst Neil Mason said: "Mintel is confident that online sales of goods will grow strongly over the next few years as this channel matures."
High street stores are expected to fight back by making the shopping experience more enjoyable and rewarding.
E-commerce is set to increase its share of total European retail sales from two to five per cent in the five years to 2010, Mintel predicts.
Britons have collectively pocketed £8.5 billion selling items over the internet in the past year.
About 54 per cent of people claim to have made money over the internet, bringing in an average of £341 each, according to Orange Broadband.
People in their 30s are making the most money online, with 12 per cent saying they have made more than £500 on internet sales.
Those aged between 26 and 30 are also using the internet to meet people, with 64 per cent saying they have set up online profiles through networking sites, while a third admit to spending 11 or more evenings a month at their computer rather than socialising with friends.