Ten per cent of consumer spending now takes place online, according to the sixth yearly Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) Index report, published this week.

It claims that £80 billion of consumer spending is either on or influenced by the internet, of which: £30 billion of retail spending is online and £20 billion of other consumer spending is also online.

The researchers claim a further £30 billion of offline retail sales are impacted by internet information, research or stimuli.

'E-retail' sales have grown at an average year-on-year rate of 45 per cent for the past six months - and such sales have grown 2,000 per cent in six years, the report claims.

"Traditional organisations often have the impression that the website is only a small percentage of what they're doing," said Conrad Bennett of web analytics specialist WebTrends told IT Week.

More statistics underline the significance of an online presence, even for producers of offline goods: 44 per cent of shoppers polled expect their online shopping to increase in the next twelve months and a culturally significant 90 per cent of consumers had researched goods online then bought them offline.

It's bad news for traditional retailers that haven't begun a migration to the new online world: 52 per cent of consumers plan to reduce their high street spending in 2006.