An internet boom has rocketed the number of people online at home in the UK through the 17 million barrier.
Record rise in home internet use
Internet homes rose by 22 per cent between December and January - the biggest ever monthly increase recorded by analysts at NetRatings.
'We always see a big jump in usership in January as people get back online who stayed off the internet over the holiday season - even so this is an outstanding performance,' said analyst David Day.
The previous year the increase was a more modest eight per cent.
Day said: 'The key factors are Christmas PC buyers getting online, the continuing falling in prices and availability of fixed-rate connections, and heavy advertising from AOL and other major players.'
Shopping sites lost out as sales fever subsided with Argos.co.uk down 15 per cent and Johnlewis.co.uk down almost a third.
Travel was up, while the UK Census 1901 site managed a massive 968,000 visitors on the few days it was online, swamping the number of visits to the site of TV smash hit Pop Idol.