The value of US online sales climbed 28 per cent year on year in the first three months of 2004, claims the US Commerce Department.

The value of online sales climbed to $15.5 billion in the period, though fell 11.4 per cent in comparison to the previous quarter. That preceding quarter included the busy Christmas and Thanksgiving shopping seasons.

US e-commerce in the first quarter 2004 accounted for 1.9 per cent of total US retail sales of $834.8 billion.

An economist told news agency AFP that the sales figures reflect increasing acceptance of the Internet for shopping.