Visa EU said the figures, released yesterday (10 February), reflect the increased consumer confidence in online shopping and the increased number of companies from different sectors launching e-commerce operations.
The travel and entertainment sector led the e-commerce growth, with online sales for the quarter up by 531% compared to 2001. Bookings for tourist attractions, hotels and airline tickets were among the biggest climbers, while online bookings for car rentals were 947% up on 2001 figures.
The retail sector, which largely struggled on the high street, performed well online with sales up by more than 100% compared with the last quarter of 2001. Electrical retailers and online grocers were particularly popular, with sales rising by 114% and 58% respectively.
Hugo Bottelier, vice-president of Visa EU, said the company expected the figures for online sales to keep rising.
"As well as sustained growth in sales, the e-commerce arena is becoming increasingly diverse with more and more sectors beginning to take advantage of the convenience and accessibility of the internet.
"With the introduction of new security measures, such as Verified by Visa, consumer confidence in online shopping will continue to grow and we predict that the figures will carry on rising for some time yet."