The Web’s Impact on Economic Growth, Employment and Productivity

by Fredrik Savin on 28/05/2011 · 0 comments

I recently wrote about today’s Internet usage from a financial perspective. McKinsey Quarterly (the world renowned consultancy’s business journal) reported our interactions with the Web to be worth an astounding €150 billion euro a year. The business journal has now published an article on new research by McKinsey Global Institute looking at the Web’s impact on economic growth, employment and productivity.

The study, which addresses the Web economies of thirteen countries (the G8 nations and five other nations including my home country Sweden), found that the Web today accounts for a significant portion of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and more and more plays an important role in economic growth.

Here’s a summary of some of the most interesting findings highlighted by McKinsey Quarterly:

  • The Web accounts for 3.4% of overall GDP in these thirteen countries. More than 50% of this relates to private usage (mainly advertising and online purchases). The Web economy now exceeds sectors such as agriculture and energy.
  • In the mature countries studied (the G8 countries plus South Korea and Sweden), McKinsey found the Web to have accounted for as much as 21% of GDP growth between 2004 and 2009.
  • McKinsey found most of the economic value of the Web to fall outside the technology sector with 75% of the benefits captured by the more traditional industry sectors.
  • In Sweden (the country where the Web economy has had the biggest contribution to GDP growth), the Web economy contributed to as much as 15% of GDP growth between 1995 and 2009 and 33% between 2004 and 2009. Germany comes second with 14% between ’95 and ’09 and 24% between ’04 and ’09.

Overall, a very interesting read this bank holiday weekend for academics and professionals alike. If you’re not spending tomorrow (Sunday) at Wentworth like me watching Manassero do a McIlroy and Edfors shoot a 64 to beat Donald for the €750,000 pay check, you have no real excuse for not digging into the full report of the study (which was recently presented at the high-profile e-G8 Forum in Paris) during your morning coffee.

NB: The Internet/Web economy is defined by McKinsey Global Institute as the “sum of Internet consumption (services, access, e-commerce, etc.), private investment, public expenditure, and the trade balance in Internet-related goods and services”.

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