Online sales of non-food products in the UK has increased by 19.2% in December 2013, compared to 18.4% growth reported in December 2012, according to British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG online retail sales monitor.

For the period, online sales accounted for 18.6% of total non-food sales, as against 16.5% in December 2012.

The increase in December online sales was highest in 2013, and best since March 2010.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said the surge in the use of tablets and smartphones last year, together with the ever faster delivery times achieved by an increasing number of retailers, have provided momentum to online shopping.

"Multichannel built on its strong position across all stages of the customer journey, from browsing and comparing prices to buying and collecting in-store. Retailers have invested significantly in their websites and delivery times, and this enhanced offer clearly struck a chord with customers who valued flexibility, choice and convenience whenever and wherever they did their shopping," Dickinson added.

KPMG retail head David McCorquodale said with one in five items being bought on the internet in December 2013, this really was an online Christmas for the retail sector.

"The statistics show that whilst store sales continue to flatline, online sales remain the main driver of growth for the sector, contributing nearly three quarters of the uptick in non-food sales in the last quarter of 2013," McCorquodale added.

"Retailers now need to focus on the ‘last mile’ and figure out how to get the item to the customer even faster. Retailers who can offer same day delivery, at a reasonable price, will be the winners in the race for sales in 2014, and steal a march on their competitors."