NEW YORK: Cocking a snoot at the recession-beset US economy, internet shopping spend is predicted to rise this year by a healthy 17%, according to Forrester Research's survey for, the online arm of the National Retail Federation,

Excluding travel purchases, retail sales online in 2008 are set to grow to $204 billion (€129.82bn; £102.74bn) from $174.5bn last year, fueled by sales of apparel, computers and autos.

Although forecast growth lags last year's 21% increase, NRF officials attribute it to the maturing of the business, not the sluggish economy. E-commerce "is clearly the bright spot in retailing," says executive director Scott Silverman.

Data sourced from Business Week (online) /Associated Press; additional content by WARC staff