According to a study by Hitwise, in December, the UK alone accounted for 606 million Internet visits to YouTube.

The study shows that video sharing sites, citing YouTube and BBC iPlayer as examples, received 936 million visits last month. This figure has been steadily increasing, and in October, we saw a 36% increase in visits to online video sites.

But YouTube is clearly ahead of the pack. The site  is one of the fastest growing according to Hitwise’s data, and accounted for 65% of visits to video sharing sites in the UK in December 2011. In fact, YouTube now accounts for 25% of social network visits overall in the UK, a figure 800 times larger than it is globally. The UK seems far more interested in social video than the rest of the world, with the worldwide figure sitting at just over 0.03% of all social network usage online.

YouTube is second only to Facebook, which takes the lion’s share of the market with just of 50%. Twitter trails in a distant third place with just 2.98% of visits in December going to the microblogging site.

percentage Hitwise: UK visits to YouTube up 45%, accounting for 1 in 4 visits to social networks

These figures also put YouTube’s UK growth into perspective, with a 45% increase from the figures we saw this time last year. In December 2010, YouTube received 417 million visits in the UK. As far as its share in the social networking market as a whole, the site has increased from 18%.

growth Hitwise: UK visits to YouTube up 45%, accounting for 1 in 4 visits to social networks

Google’s market share in the online search space has held steady at 92%, a figure we’ve seen since June, and during the Christmas season, 43% of all visits to retailers came from a search engine.