British companies to spend more on online advertising, says new report

British firms are planning to invest more in online advertising as households increasingly use the Internet for routine purchases, a new survey, quoted by an AFP report said.

Online spending on marketing will rise by 50% from 2.2 billion pounds this year to 3.3 billion pounds (4.9 billion euros) in 2009, said the survey by the Internet search group Google and Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The AFP report said the firms surveyed are likely to spend nearly 13 billion pounds in three years in Internet-based technology, up from the current level of about 10 billion pounds a year.

'Six years after the bubble burst, the Internet is driving really substantial change among businesses,' Richard Lambert, director general of the CBI, said in a statement.

'Firms are learning more about harnessing the Internet to benefit their staff, their customers and their future prospects,' he said, but added they still had a long way to go.

In Britain, nearly eight companies out of ten, or 77%, and nearly half of all households, or 44%, had broadband Internet access in the first quarter of 2006, according to Eurostat statistics published this month.

That compares to 75% and 32% respectively on average in the European Union and 86% and 30% in France, the AFP report said.