Online sales surged 19% in the first half of 2011, exceeding growth expectations by 1%.

IMRG and Capgemini data showed that £31.5bn was spent online in the period, driven by a depressed economy leading cash-strapped consumers to seek deals online rather than the high street.

Online sales were also lifted by the Royal Wedding, which helped alcohol sales, while a hotter-than-average April led to increased purchases of early summer clothing. Conversely, bad weather later in the first half encouraged shoppers to stay indoors and order online.

In June online sales jumped 21% year-on-year, to £5.3bn – at an equivalent expenditure of £86 per person. The IMRG data includes travel as well as retail.

Clothing, Footwear and Accessories in particular experienced significant growth last month, up 31%.

Capgemini head of retail and technology Chris Webster said: “Bank holidays, soggy weekends and major sporting events encourage us to go online for our shopping – it’s quick, it’s convenient, and we can do it 365 days a year. What’s more we don’t need to be armed with an umbrella.”