With the 2012 holiday shopping about to kick into full gear, the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) announced that U.S. consumers using high-speed, broadband Internet services saved 13.5%, or $8,870, in expenses in 2012. That’s up from 12.2%, or $7,694.56 in 2011, according to an IIA press release.

Analyzing the way U.S. consumers with access to and using broadband Internet services saved money, IIA lays out the top 10 ways they did so in an infographic based on its, “Next-Generation Networks and Top 10 Consumer Savings Now” report.

Studying entertainment spending—restaurant dining, sporting/concert tickets and leisure activities–in five U.S. cities, Chicago-based report author and Certified Financial Planner Nicholas Delgado found that consumers having access and using the Internet on average saved $2,497 this year on entertainment spending, the greatest amount of savings among categories studied. The average savings rate for U.S. consumers with broadband was 48.1% of what the average consumer spent on entertainment.

Delgado ranked travel spending as the second highest category for savings, with the average U.S. consumer using broadband saving $1,659, or 20% of the average spending of $8,923 for this year. Savings on housing ranked third with a savings rate of 12.75% for U.S. broadband consumers, who saved $1,736 of an average spend on housing of $13,619.

Food, with an average savings rate of 25.9% and average savings of $994 ranked fourth, while apparel, with an average annual savings rate per broadband consumer of 60.2% and savings of $1,047 ranked fifth.

According to IIA, “smart shoppers use next-generation networks to save money through:

  • Price comparison (and negotiation of better deals thanks to being educated about the price of a product according to multiple retailers online
  • Access to deeper inventory, often through sites that aggregate many different marketplaces
  • Discounts and coupons found only on the web that can both be used online and in brick-and-mortar stores
  • Sparing gas and the time burned shopping in brick-and-mortar stores

Factoring in the $490 U.S. average annual cost of a home broadband connection, your average American family “can save nearly $8,400 ($8,380.01) per year on necessities like housing, food and clothing; basics including entertainment and travel; and every day services like bill pay through opportunities only available via the Internet,” the IIA said in its release.

“These money-saving tactics are critical in a challenging economy and are contingent upon access to high-speed broadband,” commented IIA founding co-chairman Bruce Mehlman. “Transitioning to next-generation networks is crucial for all Americans to be able to make the Internet part of their financial strategy.”

U.S. consumers can also save by getting their news online, though the percentage savings dropped by more than 4% since IIA’s 2011 analysis. That contrasts with most other spending categories, where 2012 savings either increased or remained steady compared to 2011.

“This is due to more publications charging for Web content and rising online subscription costs,” IIA explained. “Interestingly, in its release of e-commerce numbers for the third quarter, comScore noted that ‘Digital Content & Subscriptions’ was a top-performing online product category.”

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