The internet is worth £100 billion a year to the UK economy and employs 250,000 people, according to the Boston Consulting Group in a report commissioned by Google.
It represents 7.2% of the country’s gross domestic product – more than the construction, transport and utilities sectors and is predicted to grow to 10% by 2015, putting the Internet’s contribution on a par with the financial sector.
Around 60% of the figure was found to come from internet consumption – the amount that users spend on online shopping and on the cost of their connections and devices to access the web. The remainder arose from investment in the UK’s internet infrastructure, government IT spending, and net exports.
Encouragingly the UK was also found to be a net exporter of e-commerce goods and services, exporting £2.80 for every £1 imported. In contrast the “off-line” economy exports 90p for every £1 imported. The UK now boasts 19m households with internet connections, doubling since 2005. The report puts household internet penetration at 73%
The UK is now ranked sixth among the world’s major economies in terms of an “e-intensity index” – a measure of the reach and depth of the internet. This put the country above the likes of Germany, the US and France, but lagging behind Japan, South Korea and Holland. The highest ranked country was Denmark.
Among the other findings, 31 million adults bought goods or services online in the past year, or 62% of all adults. Collectively, they spent about £50 billion last year on goods and travel.
As mobile reach increases with payment on line becoming easier we should expect a further boost.
Author: Chris Slay
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