Irish consumers are forecast to double the amount of money spent online over the next five years, according to research commissioned by Virgin Media and carried out by Amárach Consulting.

Ireland's digital economy is now worth 6% of GDP and its growth continues to accelerate.

The Digital Insights Report poll of a representative sample of 1,000 adults throughout Ireland found that the average online spending by consumers has risen 13% in the last two years.

It forecasts that the total annual online spend by consumers will double in the next five years to €14.1bn.

94% of consumers who use the Internet now buy goods and services online, the study found.

But less positively, nearly two thirds of the spend on Internet purchases goes out of the country.

Getting something at a lower price is now the main reason why people shop online, according to the research, followed by availability in local shops and convenience.

That represents a change on the findings from the survey two years ago when price was the main reason why people shopped online.

10% of people buy online each week, with 60% buying monthly.

In a reflection of the increasing dependence on the Internet, the study also found that people would expect €390 in compensation per month if their broadband service was removed.

61% of people spend up to four hours a week watching video streaming content, the poll found.

However, television is still the main source for news and current affairs, followed by websites, radio, newspaper and magazines and social media.

Nearly half of adults here have interacted with a Government department or public authority in the last year, with the overwhelming majority choosing digital channels to do that.

Of those, 87% interacted with Revenue's ROS system, 83% paid car tax online and 82% paid the Local Property Tax using the web.

Despite our growing use of the Internet, however, nearly half of those surveyed said they are concerned about the impact of digital technology on privacy.