UK is the ‘most internet-based major economy’

computer keyboard The web economy in the UK is predicted to grow at a faster rate than in the US and China

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The internet contributes to 8.3% of the UK economy, a bigger share than for any of the other G20 major countries, a new study suggests.

The "internet economy" was worth £121bn in 2010, more than £2,000 per person, researchers at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said.

That made it bigger than the healthcare, construction or education sectors.

The UK also carries out far more retail online than any other major economy.

Some 13.5% of all purchases were done over the internet in 2010, according to BCG, and this is projected to rise to 23% by 2016.

Chocolate v sex

The researchers said that the overall UK web economy is particularly fast-growing.

They predict it will continue to expand at a rate of 11% per year for the next four years, reaching a total value of £221bn by 2016.

That compares with projected growth rates of 5.4% in the US and 6.9% in China.

This may be particularly good news for small and medium-sized businesses that focus on the sector.

The research suggested that their revenues have grown by 12.5% each year in the last three years.

The study also provided an indication of the UK public's growing love affair with the web.

While only a quarter of those surveyed said they would consider giving up sex for a year in order to maintain their broadband connection, the figures for other indulgences were much higher.

Some 65% would give up alcohol, 76% chocolate and 78% coffee.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    You can't actually examine goods online before purchase and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find outlets with goods on display which you can then purchase at the online price. If you know the make, model, etc, you want it's great, but there are some drawbacks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    The internet is very conveniant & easy, replaces travel fares with just postage, no tramping around shops to find an item with all the inconveniance of customers getting in the way, It is far cheaper using Web site searches, you are are home, it is quicker, giving you time for more interesting pursuits, is very safe, if you follow safety recommendations on your computer. No trouble at all!

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    The new Cookie laws the EU has passed, will soon be enforced in the UK. They will put a dent in the Uk's digital economy as legitimate UK businesses will lose the ability to analyse shoppers behaviour in order to build better online experiences. Meanwhile shady foreign sites will remain able to do whatever they want.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    I certainly believe these figures. I set up an online retail business three years ago and last year saw growth of 600%. My business exports 25% of orders. The problem lies in support for retailers from government. We have asked for financial assistance to help survive growth employ staff and received none. I have a vat unpaid. Moving outside the UK and EU would save me £200 000 a year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I am not surprised by this. There are three reasons for it. First, internet shopping in the UK is dominated by people offering excellent goods and services at good prices. Second, the overheads of running a 'real' shop are ridiculous, particularly rents and taxes. Finally, the UK has some of the best Web Site designers in the world - so the sites are attractive, fast, and easy to use.


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