America's ecommerce sites are in for a bumper Christmas, according to figures from Jupiter Research.

A new study estimates that internet retail sales over the coming holiday season will total $17 billion (€14.8bn; £10.2bn), 21% higher than they were last year.

Jupiter forecasts that 40% of web users will do at least some of their Christmas shopping online, an 18% increase on 2002. The sector is benefiting as people grow more confident in spending their money on the net. Some 36% of consumers are worried about the security of credit card transactions this year, down from 47% twelve months ago.

Jupiter also believes the convenience of buying on the internet will encourage surfers to delay their present-buying until later in the season, putting the onus on etailers to deliver in time. The research group argues that those who succeed in fulfilling late orders "stand to garner high loyalty points with holiday shoppers."

Data sourced from: Jupiter Research; additional content by WARC staff