BERLIN - Germany's online retailers were unable to keep up momentum in 2022 as the Ukraine war took its toll on consumer spending, an industry body said on Thursday.

In 2022, gross sales of goods in e-commerce in Germany fell by 8.8% nominally year on year to 90.4 billion euros ($98.36 billion), the BEVH e-commerce group said.

"Online retail is also noticing the crisis. The noticeable reluctance to buy, especially for items that are not immediately necessary, reflects the current insecurity of people combined with the increased cost of living," said BEVH president Gero Furchheim.

Sales of goods online, not adjusted for inflation, were still 24.5% higher than the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to the group.

Meanwhile, digital services, such as online travel agents or ticket selling platforms, saw a considerable increase in sales after the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 took their toll on the leisure and travel sectors, jumping by 39.9% in 2022 to 11.15 billion euros.

However, the sector was still catching up after the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns, with sales 42.2% lower than in 2019, the BEVH said.

For 2023, the industry group forecast 4.8% growth in sales of goods online.

($1 = 0.9191 euros)

(Reporting by Klaus Lauer, Writing by Rachel More; Editing by Madeline Chambers)