Online sales jumped 16.5% in December as £7.9bn was spent on the web.

Sales leaped 12.2% on November’s sales figures according to the IMRG Capgemini e-retail Sales Index as Christmas shoppers waited later.

Capgemini head of retail consulting and technology Chris Webster said: “During 2011 we saw continued pressure on sales as shoppers became savvier in looking for bargains and this continued in the run up to Christmas.”

Across 2011, £68bn was spent online, a 16% rise on last year. IMRG and Capgemini predict sales will increase 13% in 2012 to £77bn.

Online retail now accounts for 17% of the total UK market. The trade body expects mobile commerce to surge this year.

Webster said: “The rapid rise of mobile in 2011 will continue into 2012 as consumers became familiar with shopping via tablet devices and smartphone. This changing landscape will open up a myriad of opportunity for retailers including the integration of stores into the multi-channel world and the potential of new capabilities like location based marketing services.”

Pureplay retailers gained ground in year-on-year growth on multichannel players. Multichannel sales growth slowed down from 25% in the first half to 14% in the second compared to online-only retailers which sales rose from 11% to 13%.

IMRG and Capgemini said this reflected a flight towards lowest cost options rather than the ease and familiarity of high-street brands.

Health and beauty and accessories experienced the fastest rate of growth rising 63% and 46% year-on-year respectively.