And a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report predicts this will rise by almost half in the next few years, hitting £225bn by 2016 and representing 12.4 per cent of the nation’s GDP.
Averaging out to an annual growth of 10.9 per cent, the UK’s internet economy outstrips the 8.1 per cent average yearly progress of other G20 nations. Germany’s online sector is expected to grow by 7.8 per cent a year, while the likely figures for the US and France are 6.5 and 6.1 per cent respectively.
Emerging markets have a far higher annual growth rate, with 24.3 per cent in Argentina and 23 per cent in India.
But the internet is not classed as a stand-alone industry sector in the UK – or it would be the fifth largest in the country, ahead of the healthcare, construction and education sectors.
The report says the total size of the G20 internet economy will hit $4.2 trillion (£2.68 trillion) by 2016, accounting for 5.3 per cent of GDP, compared to $2.3 trillion and 4.1 per cent in 2010.