Online purchases hit on an all-time high in 2008, with the UK spending around £26.5 billion of their hard-earned through the web.

This mountain of cash amounts to a 38 per cent rise in online sales or 17 pence in every pound spent in the UK.

The statistics have been taken from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, and show that even in the face of a credit crunch online sales are rising and fast.

Not immune to credit crunch

The head of retail consulting at Capgemini UK spoke to Vnunet about the results and said: "Online retail is not immune to the credit crunch, but it is showing greater resilience than the high street.

"The online channel continues to grow its share of retail spend thanks to the traditional drivers of convenience and choice, but these drivers appear to be magnified by the current economic environment.

"Convenience has a sharper edge in a world of soaring fuel prices, and the ability to research and make more informed choices in a time of heightened price sensitivity is a key advantage of the online channel."