Online sales in the UK are expected to continue to achieve steady growth of 6 per cent a year and hit £56bn by 2014, according to research company Forrester.

While the rest of the economy is facing decline the e-tail sector will continue to benefit from continued migration online, Forrester said.

It said: “The recession will hit online sales less hard than other channels as people shop online to find better prices and save on fuel.”

It said that over the past year fashion was the biggest growth channel for online retail with e-tailers such as Asos achieving strong sales growth even in the downturn.

The research also predicted that there will be 30 million shoppers online this year and that this will grow to 37 million by 2014.