The internet contributes £100bn a year to the UK economy, says Google.

The Connected Kingdom report, which was compiled by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on behalf of the search engine, revealed that £60bn of this is generated by online shopping as well as the cost of connections and devices that allow Brits to surf the web.

The remaining £40bn is made up of investment in the UK's internet infrastructure, government IT spending and exports via the web. In total, the web accounts for 7.2 percent of the UK's gross domestic product (GDP).

According to Matt Brittin, managing director, Google UK: "The internet is a central pillar of the UK's economy".

"The sector has come of age, and with great prospects for further growth the UK internet economy will be vital to the UK's future prosperity," he added.

BCG expects the net's contribution to the UK's GDP to increase to 10 percent by 2015.

The report revealed that for every £1 spent online importing goods, £2.80 is earnt exporting items. Furthermore, around 250,000 Brits are employed by internet companies.

Paul Zwillenberg, partner with BCG, said: "The internet is pervasive in the UK economy today, more so than in most advanced countries".

"Several industries - including media, travel, insurance and fashion - are being transformed by it."

Neil Barton, director of hosting firm Hostway, wasn't surprised by the value the internet brings to the UK economy.

"Over the last decade we've seen a huge boom in e-commerce, as well as a whole new range of services that only emerged because of the internet," he said.

"For us to see the level of growth in the internet economy [predicted by the report] businesses will need to continue to invest in the user experience of internet services. Without this we might see a slowdown in adoption as consumers' demands of the internet increase. "

Meanwhile, Chris Davies, general manager of D-Link UK & Ireland, believes the rise in popularity of smartphones, tablet PCs and mobile gaming, means the internet economy will continue to grow.

"It is therefore, vital that Wi-Fi, 3G and other internet access technologies continue to evolve, in order to deliver increased speeds and performance, to meet this ongoing demand for anytime and anywhere internet access."

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