U.K. Online Shopping Forecast to Jump 17% to Record This Year

U.K. online retail sales are set to exceed 100 billion pounds ($164 billion) for the first time in 2014, with growth forecast to accelerate slightly from last year as more Britons make purchases using smartphones or tablets.

Spending on Internet shopping will rise to 107 billion pounds from 91 billion pounds in 2013, according to industry researcher IMRG and technology service provider Capgemini. The market’s estimated growth of 17 percent will compare with last year’s 16 percent expansion, the firms said in a statement.

“The growth levels we are seeing in the e-retail market won’t be slowing down any time soon,” Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said in the statement.

In December, the biggest month of the year for most retailers, online sales increased 18 percent from a year earlier to 11 billion pounds, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Shoppers spent twice as much via mobile phones compared with a year earlier.

“Mobile devices have fundamentally altered the way that consumers engage with brands,” Spooner said.

IMRG’s findings add to evidence that the most successful retailers are those with a strong online presence. Asos Plc, the U.K.’s largest Internet-only clothing retailer, said yesterday that sales rose 38 percent in the four months through December. Burberry Group Plc, Britain’s largest luxury-goods maker, today reported quarterly revenue that beat analysts’ estimates as shoppers spent more through digital channels.