Euro zone retail sales increased by more than expected year-on-year in January thanks to sales of non-food products, especially over the internet.

This is according to the latest data from the European Union's statistics office Eurostat today. 

Eurostat said retail sales in the euro zone fell 0.1% month-on-month for a 2.3% year-on-year increase. 

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.3% monthly rise and a 2.1% annual gain. 

Eurostat also revised upwards the data for December to -1% on the month and 2.1% on the year from -1.1% and 1.9% respectively. 

The data showed the year-on-year number in January was mainly influenced by a 3.8% rise in the sales of non-food products, an acceleration from 3% in December. 

Of those non-food products, sales via mail order and over the internet jumped 8.8%, up from a 7.5% rise in December.