Significantly more UK consumers took advantage of public wireless broadband services over the Christmas period, it has been claimed.
According to Wi-Fi hotspot provider The Cloud, usage levels were up three times on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day 2011.
On December 25th, The Cloud reported usage levels four times higher than the equivalent date 12 months earlier.
Overall, UK consumers spent more than 60 million minutes connected to Wi-Fi this Christmas, the firm revealed.
Vince Russell, Managing Director of The Cloud, said his company used to view Christmas as being "a relatively quiet time" for the network.
But this is not the case anymore, he noted.
"Even on Christmas Day, our pub hotspots are heavily used," Mr Russell explained.
"And when the high streets are busy – as they are for last-minute shoppers on Christmas Eve and bargain-hunters on Boxing Day – the increase in traffic is considerable."
He claimed that wireless broadband services have become "a vital part" of the shopping experience for many consumers.
Access to Wi-Fi allows people to browse the wider internet while in-store, enabling them to check the shop's full product range and availability, Mr Russell noted.
Consumers can also use the web to search for reviews and update their social media pages with details on what they’ve bought, he added.
Earlier this month, it was announced that The Cloud is offering free wireless broadband services to residents, workers and tourists in London's Square Mile.
The City of London Corporation has extended its partnership with the firm, meaning there will be universal coverage across the capital's financial centre.
Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said having the best communications infrastructure in place to access vital information on the move is "of critical importance".
"This partnership between the City of London Corporation and The Cloud will ensure the Square Mile keeps pace with growing demand in a rapidly evolving technological landscape," he stated.