Spending on internet marketing and access in the US could near $80 billion (£40 million) in the next four years, according to new research.

In its Global Entertainment and Media Outlook report, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) claimed that, by 2011, American internet users could pay $78.4 billion in advertising and fees to providers.

The research also revealed that the US remains the world’s largest market for internet marketing, with its spending predicted to hit $35.4 billion within four years.

However, China could soon overtake the US as the world’s largest nation in terms of the number of internet users, the report claims.

"We expect that China will accelerate in use of the internet from where they are today – in sheer numbers (of users) they are incredible," Joseph Rizzo, US advisory technology sector leader at PwC, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The report follows a study by JupiterResearch which claimed that the US’ online marketing spending could reach $35.4 billion by 2012.

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