NUREMBERG: Online retail sales continued to rise in Germany last year despite the impact of the economic downturn, figures from GfK, the research firm, have shown.

According to the company, consumers in Europe's biggest economy spent some €15.5 billion ($21.1bn; £14.0bn) on goods and services via the web in 2009, an increase of 14% on annual basis.

This data was drawn from GfK's WebScope panel, which consists of 10,000 internet users aged over 14 years old, and tracks new product purchases, as well as acquisitions made on auction and exchange sites.

While the net retained its position as the fastest-growing retail channel in the country, its rate of expansion slowed from the level of 19% recorded in 2008.

More specifically, the first nine months of 2009 saw revenues climb by 12% year-on-year, and the final quarter delivered an improvement more in line with the previous year.

The typical consumer's e-commerce outlay stood at €506m, up by 10% on 2008, while the average number of items purchased remained static, at 9.4 per person.

By category, totals for the fashion sector jumped by 24.5%, with DIY products, toys, books household goods and other similar objects up by 11.5%.

Electronics, typically one of the biggest drivers of web sales, delivered a comparatively modest performance, up by 12.3%.

The German retail market as a whole experienced a contraction of 1.8% last year, with national GDP declining by 5% over the same period.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff