Online shopping is set to slow down significantly as the channel matures and competition increases, according to Verdict Research.

The research house said although online expenditure will increase by more than 56% to £35bn by 2014, and will continue to outperform retail, growth will slow considerably from previous years. It forecasts the average annual growth between 2009 and 2014 will be 12% compared with an average of 35% over the previous decade.

The most valuable and prolific shopper group, the 35-44 year olds, currently spend £6.2bn online, and account for over a third of online retail expenditure in 2009, are the ones most likely to cut back on spending.

The number of online shoppers is also heading for saturation, though Verdict predicts numbers will rise to 32.5 million in 2014 this will be only another four million shoppers.

Malcolm Pinkerton, senior retail analyst said: “With the number of people shopping online becoming highly saturated, retailers will have to change and evolve their online strategies. Driving loyalty and increasing spend per head across all age groups will become vital factors to ensure growth.”