10th Aug 2011. The internet has transformed the Australian economy over the last 10 years, and is poised to play an even greater role in our daily
lives and businesses as Australia positions itself to become a leading digital economy.
The direct contribution of the internet to the Australian economy is worth approximately $50 billion or 3.6% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010. This contribution is of similar value to the retail sector or Australia’s iron ore exports.
But, just as the roll out of electricity changed many aspects of peoples’ lives and transformed the way businesses operate, the internet provides wider
benefits beyond its direct economic impact. These wider benefits – which are not fully captured in GDP calculations – include:
- Approximately $27 billion in productivity increases to businesses and government in the form of improvements to the way they operate and deliver services. These services also flow through to consumers through lower prices and the introduction of new products
- The equivalent of $53 billion in benefits to households in the form of added convenience (e.g. of online banking and bill paying) and access to an increased variety of goods and services and information.
Growth in internet activity is accelerating. This is driven by infrastructure investment, the uptake of new technologies (e.g. smartphones) providing
access to the internet, new applications such as social media sites and an increase in business and government use of the internet.
The direct contribution of the internet to the Australian economy is set to increase by $20 billion over the next five years, from $50 billion to roughly $70 billion.
- This represents a growth rate (at 7%) that is twice as fast as that forecasted for the rest of the economy and will see the internet’s contribution approach that of the healthcare sector today
- Over the same period the growth of the internet will also result in approximately 80,000 more Australians employed in areas directly related to the internet