Online spending is expected to soar for the fourth successive Christmas this year, according to analysts.

Consumer Internet spending during November and December will hit £4.2 billion, a 46 per cent increase on the £3.15bn spent during the same period last year, according to figures from Internet research group Jupiter Media.

The UK continues to lead the way, with shoppers expected to spend £1.3 billion on gifts, food and drink this Christmas.

Online boon An IMRG report indicates that online Christmas shopping is four times faster than shopping in a precinct. According to the research, Britain's 47 million adults spend 155 million days Christmas shopping. IMRG estimates that they could save a third of a million years if they shopped online instead.

IMRG managing director Jo Tucker said: "It's ramping up to be an excellent e-Christmas, and if the early trends continue then it will be a £3.3bn online Christmas this year, which will be twice last year's.

"By switching to the internet, the six out of ten women who spend five days or more on Christmas shopping could save enough time to have a week's holiday by the time the kids are back at school in the New Year."

And the online shopping experience is even faster thanks to Broadband roll out, which has now reached 80 per cent coverage in the UK. Robin Terrell, Managing Director of Amazon UK, told the BBC: "Broadband is helping too, we are seeing people spend more time online just browsing and looking around."

IMRG's James Roper also suggests that the rise in average spend is "fuelled by the fact that shoppers are getting used to using their credit cards online and are less worried about fraud".

Tim Booth, creative director of online innovations firm I Want One Of Those said: "Shopping has once more become a pleasure, and the convenience of being able to do it all in one place, in the warm, without queues, and have all of it wrapped and delivered to your door the next day, has made it a breeze."