It was bound to happen but our online shopping habits are now reflecting what's being seen on the high street - we're simply not spending as much.

US net measurement firm comScore is reporting that online shopping is now in decline for first time since it began measuring online spending in 2001.

Online shoppers in the US spent $8.2 billion (£5.3 billion) in November, down 4% on last year's figures.

ComScore is predicting that the Christmas shopping season will see no growth whereas last year online spending grew 19% over the same period.

"With consumer confidence low and disposable income tight, the first weeks of November have been very disappointing", said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

"Assuming the stock market doesn't deteriorate materially during the season and that there is no apocalyptic news of major financial institutions, manufacturers or retailers failing, we should see online spending growth inch back towards positive as we get deeper into the season", said Mr Fulgoni.

"However, if there is any more significant bad news just over the horizon, all bets are off".