Two thirds of Americans said that if they were stranded on a desert island they would want to have a computer wired to the Web more than anything else.
According to this year's survey of 1,000 US Web surfers by America Online (AOL) and Roper Starch Worldwide, 42 per cent said they regularly or occasionally made a purchase online compared with 31 per cent in the 1998 study.
But the most common activities included getting information about and buying products, checking local entertainment information, booking travel and trading stock.
Shopping was the most popular pastime among experienced users, however, with 37 per cent of all consumers saying they would increase the number of purchases they made online over the next few years.
The report also indicated the extent to which the Internet had entered respondents' lives. A massive 83 per cent said that if they no longer had online access, they would miss it, while 73 per cent thanked the Web for having made their lives better.
More telling was the response to a new question as to where users place Internet access devices in their homes. Some 52 per cent of users said they had moved furniture to accommodate their household computer in a similar fashion to changing seating arrangements for television sets in days gone by.
New light-guiding nanoscale device can control and monitor a nanoparticle trapped in a laser beam with high sensitivity
Optical traps are scientific instruments in which a focused laser beam is used to exert an attractive or repulsive force on a microscopic object to hold it in place
Scientists estimate that the exoplanet has already lost up to 35 per cent of its mass over its lifetime
The observations were made using the Atacama Array in the Chilean desert
J1043+2408 was observed for more than 10 years, and its radio light curve exhibited a periodic signal repeating in about 563 days