Online sales exceeded 20% of all retailing in November for the first time, while online food sales grew by 2.8% compared with the previous year, according to official new data.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data revealed that online retailing accounted for 21.5% of total retailing on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. In addition, overall small business sales grew 13.9% year on year, compared to just 1.8% for large businesses.

The study also showed that small online retailer sales year-on-year were up 25.1%, compared to 6.3% for large internet retailers. Non-seasonally adjusted average weekly spending online was £1.8bn in November 2018 - an increase of 13.1% when compared with November 2017. This is due in part to consumers taking advantage of Black Friday deals ahead of Christmas, according to the ONS.

British Retail Consortium head of insights and analytics, Rachel Lund, said: “ONS figures suggest, that while large retailers (both online and offline) had a dismal November, Christmas apparently came early for small businesses.

“With sales by small retailers growing more than 13% on last year overall and 25% online; there will be cause for more than a few raised eyebrows in the industry.”