UK leads the way in e-commerce growth
The internet brings more to the UK's GDP than any other G20 nation, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group.
Figures show that the contribution of the web to the nation's economy was 8.3 per cent or £121 billion pounds in 2010.Experts predict that it will rise to £225 billion by 2016.
Online shopping accounted for around half the UK internet economy as a whole in 2010, bringing in just over £64 billion.It is predicted to make up a quarter of all UK retail over the next four years.
Although the UK is currently a world leader when it comes to e-commerce, the study predicted that it is the emerging markets that will see the most growth in their internet economies.
For example, Argentina's web economy is forecast to grow by 24.3 per cent and India's by 23 per cent.The report revealed just how essential it is that businesses have an effective internet strategy in place.
It found that companies that use the internet for "marketing, sales and interactions with customers and suppliers" increased their revenues by 12 per cent over the past three years, compared to just four per cent for those who made little or no use of the web.
Co-author David Dean, a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group, said: "Around the world SMEs which embrace the internet are growing faster and adding more jobs than those that don't."By encouraging businesses to adopt the internet, countries can improve their competitiveness and growth prospects."
The company also surveyed UK consumers about their own attitudes towards surfing the web and found that most placed it in extremely high value.
Britons would demand on average £2,175 a year to live without online access, and many reported that they would rather go without luxury items such as chocolate or alcohol than give up the internet.