Nearly eight in ten (79 percent) of Brits have ordered goods or service online, says Ofcom.

According to the regulator's sixth International Communications Market report, that's higher than any other European country. Italians are those least likely to shop online, with only 27 admitting to purchasing goods or service on the web. Furthermore, 89 percent said they visit shopping websites. On average, Brits spend 84 minutes each on retail sites, which is more than anywhere else in Europe.

In August this year, nearly half (46 percent) of Brits said they own a smartphone, which is an increased on 24 percent in February 2010. The same percentage of web users also use their handset to surf the web, with 34 percent of admitting they play games on their mobile phone. A quarter (25 percent) also use their mobile phone to access news.

More than three quarters (79 percent) of UK web users have visited a social network, while 83 percent of 12 to 24 year olds say they access social networks on a daily basis and 20 percent check them five times a day. Italians came top with 91 percent of those surveyed saying they had visited a social network at some point.

More than two in five (43 percent) of Brits visit social networks from their mobile phone, compared top just 30 percent in the US. However, UK social networks have an average of 168 friends online, which is fewer than Americans with 198 and Italians that have 216. More than third (35 percent) also said they use social networks to keep up-to-date on breaking news.

Unsurprisingly, the UK is lagging when it comes to superfast broadband connections. In June this year, just four percent of UK homes had access to a net connection of 25Mbps or above, compared to 40 percent in Japan and 10 percent in the US.

"Across the globe people are embracing e-commerce and social media with enthusiasm. Our research shows that the UK communications market is performing well with prices, the range of services and innovation standing up well against international benchmarks," said Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards.

"There are also issues which we will monitor carefully, such as the future roll-out 4G mobile services. We are pressing ahead with plans to release this valuable spectrum at the end of next year which will enable new mobile services for consumers."