Thanks to British consumers and businesses' widespread use of digital tools, the United Kingdom has one of the largest digital economies in the world.
Consumers in the UK continue to incorporate digital tools into everyday life, changing the nature of several well-established industries. For example, a 2012 study projected that more than 20% of retailing in the UK would be conducted through online purchases by 2016 (Boston Consulting Group 2012). Other estimates showed evidence of changing travel patterns among drivers in the UK, with 32% of cars having incorporated navigation devices (Oxera/Boston Consulting Group 2013).
Smaller companies in the UK have also utilized internet tools to drive sales and job growth, leading the Boston Consulting Group to label it a “nation of digital shopkeepers.” Between 2007 and 2010, overall sales recorded by high- and medium-web businesses grew by 4.1% annually – about seven times faster than sales by low- and no-web businesses. More than 40% of small businesses in the UK also use social media tools to enrich interactions with customers and employees (Boston Consulting Group 2012).
A study by the Boston Consulting Group shows that the internet economy is facilitated by relatively low levels of "e-friction" (factors that hamper internet access and connectedness). The UK enjoys relatively low levels of e-friction, which may explain why the UK has one of the largest internet economies as measured by its share of the overall economy (Boston Consulting Group 2014).