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What would you give up for the net? Chocolate, coffee… sex?

Things may be looking gloomy for the economy, but internet business is booming in the UK. In fact, the web is so important to us that many would be willing to give up some interesting things just to keep a connection.

By the year 2016, the internet economy will be worth around $4.2 trillion to countries within the G20, or so says a report by the management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

To put that in context, if the web were a national economy it would ‘rank in the world’s top five, behind only the US, China, India, and Japan,’ according to David Dean, co-author of the report.

It’s especially good news for the UK, with the internet contributing 8.3% of the UK economy, a bigger share than all its G20 rival countries. We even do more of our shopping on the net than any other country, with 13.5% of all purchases made online.

Slow down there

So, with the UK being the biggest ‘internet-based economy’, should we revel in our online growth? I’d actually urge a little caution.

While online stores are celebrating success, this has arguably come at the expense of the high street. Big name brands are shutting up shop – video game retailer Game has just gone into administration and Comet plans to close over 60 of its stores.

That aside, it’s clear we’re having a love affair with the internet in the UK. Indeed, it looks like many of us wouldn’t be able to give it up.

Making sacrifices to stay online

When BCG asked people what they’d be willing to give up for a year in order to maintain their internet connection, almost a fifth said they’d give up showering, around half would give up exercise, and a quarter would go without sex.

Maybe our love of the web is running a little too deep…

On the healthier side of things, 65% would give up alcohol for an internet connection, 76% chocolate, 78% coffee and 91% fast food. Eight in ten would discard their sat nav at the risk of finding their way alone (or with a paper map) and a fifth would lose their car altogether.

So, how important is the internet to you? Would you give up any of things mentioned above just to retain your broadband connection? (Surely you would for Which? Conversation alone?!)

What would you give up to keep your internet connection?

Chocolate (17%, 127 Votes)

Coffee (15%, 112 Votes)

Alcohol (14%, 108 Votes)

None of the above (10%, 79 Votes)

TV (10%, 74 Votes)

Exercise (8%, 62 Votes)

Going out (7%, 51 Votes)

Holidays (6%, 44 Votes)

Sex (5%, 37 Votes)

Car (4%, 30 Votes)

Shower/bath (2%, 16 Votes)

Friends (2%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 318

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Well, I ticked a few of those boxes… maybe I need help.

Other interesting things from this report are how much Brits would demand to be paid to give up certain portions of the internet. People said they’d need to be paid £257 a year to give up email, £238 to drop search engines (how can you know anything without Google!?) and £227 for online banking. 25-35 years olds would want £450 a year to give up Facebook and Twitter.

How about you? And how much would you need to be paid to drop Which? Conversation (we’re not offering!)

Who’s making sacrifices?

All this survey has established is that 20% of the population don’t wash, half don’t exercise, and 25% don’t have opportunities for sex. Possibly as a direct result of spending too much time on the Internet … !

Haha, that’s a nice interpretation. I guess we should presume that they ‘had some of it’ before they were asked, meaning they had something to lose.

One would like to think so, but there is still some double counting going on. For instance, the 20% who give up showering would probably have to forgo the sex, whether they want to or not!

On a more serious note, I can well understand the monetized value of the Internet. I’m sure I now save £1000s every year on online purchases – or just from the ability to compare prices and options, even if the transactions take place face-to-face. I also help run a small services business where the majority of our sales leads come from our website.

I am not a compulsive spender and I do not have an obsession with transport, either private or public. I do not feel the need to give up anything.

Yes, but if someone was to threaten to remove your broadband connection, what would you give them in return/give up in order to keep it?

OK then. Out of Sarah’s list it has got to be TV that I would give up. I’m not sure I could give up coffee.

It depends if you’re an online gamer. Sadly I know a few people who have ended their relationship over their necessity to play WoW (World of Woarcraft for those unfamiliar with this acronymn). My boyfriend used to go into panic mode at the thought of the internet being unavailable. Luckily he gave up the game and not me unlike some of his friends!

This will be discussed on the podcast this week – trouble is so many of us are net-dependent for work, as well as play

The idea of not having the internet brings me out in a cold sweat. I’d happily give up most of those things (although not all – I’m not saying which!) to keep my connection. Without the internet I wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with family and friends from across the world, I couldn’t do my shopping (I don’t have a car so most shopping is done online). In short – I’d have a much more boring life, and probably less food to eat!

Of the 91% who would give up fast food and the 61% who would give up alchohol (hmm….age range thing for couch potatoes?) how many had difficulty telling the difference between fantasy and reality and also could produce three independant witnesses to confirm that they always spoke the truth?

Their IP addresses are logged and member of the Which? team will be round to check the truth of the claims. 🙂

NB: Wavechange is telling porkies 🙂

Yes I am. That was a quick response.

… was it? Have a great weekend

Thanks. I’m going to have a break from the computer this weekend, and get some exercise. You can have a break from my inane comments, Patrick. 🙂