Online sales of non-food goods were up 19.4% in January – the biggest increase since January 2009.

Online sales accounted for 17.4% of all non-food retail sales during the month, up from 16.3% a year ago, according to British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures.

BRC senior analyst Anne Alexandre reported that clothing sales had accelerated on last year, lifting the proportion of online clothing sales to 21.2%, the second highest figure on record.

“This shows the role online plays in attracting customers in a period traditionally quiet for clothing,” she said.

However, footwear was bottom of the non-food growth ranking table for the first time since the figures were first compiled 14 months ago.

Nonetheless, growth was sufficient to lift its penetration rate above last year’s, thanks to a particularly strong performance from children’s shoes.

“There’s no doubt that online is driving structural change within the sector, and retailers will continue to invest heavily to provide the seamless experience between channels that today’s shoppers demand,” said BRC director general Helen Dickinson.