The number of Britons visiting online shopping sites soared by two million over the last year, according to research.

About 18.6 million web-users visited an online retail site in July, according to data released by analysts Nielsen/NetRatings. eBay had the highest number of hits, with 12.2 million people visiting the site that month. The auction site outstripped Amazon and which had 7.4 million and 4.3 million visitors respectively.

Britons' enthusiasm for online shopping shows no sign of abating, with net-surfers clocking up 23.4 million hours online every month.