The number of people in Britain using the internet every day has more than doubled in six years to 33 million, according to the Office for National Statistics.
That figure represents 68% of those over 16. In 2006, only 16 million adults said they went online every day.
The rapid growth of Facebook and Twitter is also changing the way people use the internet.
Social networking is now the most popular activity among 16 to 24-year-olds, with 87% logging on.
Almost half of all adults were on social networks in 2012, and it is not just the preserve of younger people as 40% of 45 to 54-year-olds also used them to communicate.
Overall though, email remains the most popular online past-time.
Using mobiles to access the internet is also moving on in leaps and bounds, boosted by falling prices for the technology and the popularity of devices like the Galaxy and iPhone.
Just over 50% of adults used a phone to access the net in 2012 - more than double the 2010 figure - with 32% going online on their handset every day.
The mobile internet now appears to be a regular feature of life for many people, with the ONS saying 60% of adults went online in 2012 via wi-fi hotspots or mobile networks.
But despite the growing popularity and "cool factor" of tablet devices, laptop computers are still a more popular option for out-and-about browsing.
In 2012, 21% of people used a tablet to access the internet outside their home or office, while 34% used a laptop device.
The spread of internet shopping is also reflected in the survey.
With reduced overheads and bulk buying power, retailers like Amazon have been blamed in part for recent high street closures.
And, it seems, more people are being attracted to the web in their search for a bargain.
Two-thirds shopped online in 2012, up from just over half in 2008, with clothes and sports goods the most popular purchase. The most keen to buy online were 25 to 34-year-olds (87%).
The ONS explained: "There are distinct differences in how individuals make use of the internet when analysed by age.
"As 'early-adopters', it is of little surprise that those adults aged 16 to 24 are proportionately the largest users of many of the available internet activities."
The ONS findings are based on a random sample of about 1,800 adults.