LONDON: The amount of time consumers in the UK spend using the internet has increased by 65% in the last three years, according to a new study.

Estimates from the UK Online Measurement Company, the industry body, revealed that the average netizen in the country now dedicates 22 hours 15 minutes to the web each month.

Social networks and blogs took a 22.7% share of this total, indicating the rapid expansion in popularity of properties like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Alex Burmaster, communications director at Nielsen Online and a member of UKOM's research team, argued the growth experienced by these Web 2.0 service was unlikely to slow in the near future.

"It is like an organism, feeding off itself and getting bigger. People are plugging more and more of their lives into it," he said.

Elsewhere, e-mail was responsible for 7.2% of the time spent on the net, a figure that fell to 6.9% for playing games.

Instant messaging accounted for 4.9% of all activity, down from 14% three years ago, as social networks have largely replaced this tool.

Classified sites like Gumtree and auction platforms like eBay were on 4.7%, with search portals such as Google and Yahoo on 4%, and news on 2.8%.

The last of these categories had posted an uptick from just 1.5% three years ago, UKOM said.

Data sourced from BBC; additional content by Warc staff