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Access to cheaper and faster broadband connections has led to a boom in online shopping, it has been claimed.

According to figures from price comparison website uSwitch, when taking into account the anticipated glut of spending around Christmas, online purchases are set to hit £40 billion this year.

This is set to rise yet further over the next decade and is set to stand at £162 billion by 2020 - thus making up around 20 per cent of total retail sales.

Steve Weller, head of communications services at uSwitch, said: "Not only does shopping online save you time and money, but it can actually pay for itself. Each household can save £500 which pays for your annual broadband cost nearly three times over.

"Over the last five years broadband prices have halved while speeds have gone up, making it cheaper and simpler for consumers to log on instead of going out to the shops. Online security has vastly improved so our peace of mind is greater than ever before."

uSwitch's figures are based on online spending and sales volume data compiled by the Office of National Statistics.

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