Food and grocery look on course to oust electricals from the e-retailing top spot by 2012, analysts have said.

Improvements in supermarket delivery options, website functionality and a consumer desire for convenience have attracted grocery shoppers online, Verdict Research reported.

According to its UK e-Retail 2008 report published this week, online consumer spending on retail purchases rose by 35% to £14.7bn in 2007 - a rate of growth almost 10 times higher than the total retail market.

Electricals and grocery made up just under half of online retail spending last year, with electricals taking the lion's share at 25.1%.

But Verdict predicts that online grocery will leapfrog electricals - an already mature market - and account for 29% of online sales in 2012, compared to 22% for electricals.

Malcolm Pinkerton, an analyst for Verdict Research said more consumers were turning to the internet when buying food and grocery for convenience .

"Supermarkets have made major improvements to the functionality of their websites, product ranges and availability of goods," he said. "But most importantly they have improved delivery. They have made buying groceries online even more convenient, encouraging more consumers, especially those with families, to do the big weekly shop online using local stores for top-up shopping."

Asda's multi-channel director, Tony Prescott, said growth in the online grocery market had been massive in the past two years.

Asda said it intended to launch its George clothing brand online in September.