Books are the most popular item to buy online according to a recent global survey of more than 26,000 internet users in 48 countries by Nielsen Online.

More internet shoppers have bought books than any other product online over the past three months, with two-fifths of e-shoppers reaching into their virtual wallets to buy books.

The next most popular area is fashion, with 36% having bought clothing, accessories or shoes, 24% have bought airline tickets and 19% music. Online clothes and shoes shopping enjoyed the fastest growth, jumping to 36% from 20% two years ago.

South Korea tops the charts for online book purchases, Germany is second, Austria is next, followed by Vietnam, Brazil, Egypt, China and India. The UK was in 10th place.