The UK's online economy is generating £100bn a year, pulling in over 7% of the nation's GDP, dwarfing industries such as construction, transport and utilities, according to research conducted by the US-based Boston Consulting Group on behalf of Google.
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According to the analysts, £59bn of the total figure is down to consumer e-commerce and spending on ISPs and devices, while £18bn comes from private investment in Internet-related technology.
Highlighting the importance of the public sector to the economy, the report also found that government spending accounted for £25bn.
However, when the curtain was pulled back further, the total impact of B-2-B commerce transacted over the Internet and through electronic channels was larger still, exceeding £360bn in 2008, representing 23% of the total purchases of nonfinancial businesses, according to the ONS.
To avoid double counting, these figures were not included in the final GDP estimate, since "the final sale of a product includes the value of intermediate transactions," said analysts.
"We all know how the Internet has changed the way people access information and communicate," said Google UK managing director Matt Brittin.
"Now for the first time we can see how its adoption by British business has become a major contributor to GDP, and that the Internet is a central pillar of the economy. The sector has come of age, and with great prospects for further growth the Internet economy will be vital to future prosperity," he added.
D-Link marketing manager Andrew Mulholland added: "In order for the UK's Internet economy to grow it is vital that networks continue to evolve so that they can deliver increased speeds and performance."
"The channel can play a significant role by educating organisations, both in the public and private sector, as to the benefits of moving to the latest networking technology, whether it be deploying new switches or moving to Wireless N," he said.