The Office Of National Statistics has issued a report that shows internet sales hit a record high in November with 10.5% of retail sales being made on line. Shoppers haven’t been perturbed by the threat of bad weather that could mean some goods won’t be delivered until after the festivities are over either.

This time last year online sales were 7.9% of retail volume based on overall takings so that may also include more of the high value items such as jewellery and domestic products such as dishwashers and cookers being bought on line.

The ONS also reported that there was evidence of shoppers going to shops to examine the products they wanted to buy and then going home and ordering online to take advantage of offers and discounts that weren’t available on the high-street. If retailers don’t have sufficient web presence to trade on-line then they could be missing out. This style of shopping could be especially useful for those buying larger and heavy items like washing machines where the items have to be delivered anyway and technical items like digital SLR camers where the shoppers likes to ‘try before they buy’.

The ONS estimated that more than £650 million had been spent online in retail sales in each week of November. Excluding utilities the total online spend was £6.3 billion.

Because of the bad weather and the hike in online sales there are thought to be around 4 million packages sitting in the warehouses of private courier companies all over the country. The weather has already disrupted many deliveries already and if it worsens, as it is expected to do, then many more items could be languishing in storage when they aught to be getting unwrapped.

The highlands and north of England have been the most affected by the weather so far but further disruption could affect the rest of the country as Christmas approaches.