Online retail spending in the US was up by 17% to $44.3bn in the first quarter of 2012, according to audience measurement and tracking firm comScore.
The quarter results represent the highest growth rate since 2007, according to comScore’s Q1 2012 Retail survey.
The increase has been attributed to the top-performing online product categories such as digital content & subscriptions, computer software, consumer electronics, jewellery & watches and event tickets, where each category grew by about 17% from a year earlier.
comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said while the economic recovery continues to be painfully slow, the channel shift to e-commerce appears to be accelerating.
"This presents opportunities but also challenges for brick-and-mortar retailers if they can’t hold onto their offline market share in the digital world," added Gian.
"E-commerce has reached critical mass in several product categories, and it will be important to monitor these sales trends by category in order to correctly gauge the impact e-commerce is having on overall retailer performance."
The survey showed that 38% of tablet owners accounted for purchases made on their devices within the past month with apparel being the most popular category.
Free shipping constituted nearly 48.8% of e-commerce transactions with the highest percentage for a quarter on record outside of the holiday season.