UK's online economy contributes £100bn to GDP
The UK's online economy contributed £100bn or 7.2% to GDP last year and is expected to make up as much as 10% by 2015.
A report entitled 'The Connected Kingdom: How the Internet is Transforming the UK Economy' has predicted that the UK's online economy will grow by 10% year-on-year over the next five years, but pointed out that it already contributes more to the nation's wealth than the construction, transport and utilities industries.
Around 60% of the market is driven by consumption, with the country having the highest per capita spend on ecommerce in the world. It is also a net exporter of ecommerce goods and services, exporting £2.80-worth of offerings for every £1-worth that are imported.
But according to the study undertaken by researchers The Boston Consulting Group and commissioned by Google UK, the significance of the internet to the economy is actually greater than such figures initially suggest because of important business and consumer activities not necessarily captured in GDP numbers.
Commercial activities not included in GDP calculations include business-to-business ecommerce, which is worth about £360bn per year, online advertising, valued at £3.5bn, and productivity improvements.
Moreover, shoppers also use the web to research around £40bn-worth of purchases that they subsequently buy offline. They consume about £5bn-worth of free online content and also save around £18bn per year as a result of online discounts and promotions.
But while the UK, like other developed nations, may see high levels of internet activity, there are regional differences in usage. People based in London, followed by the South East and East of England, are the keenest users, with adoption lower elsewhere.