Canada’s so-called “digital economy” accounts for a higher share of gross domestic product (GDP) than mining, energy extraction or agriculture, according to Statistics Canada’s first “Digital Economy Survey.”
In a report released Friday, StatsCan estimates that digital economic activities — activity enabled by digitalization, such as e-commerce, products delivered online and IT equipment — accounts for about 5.5% of GDP, putting it ahead of such traditional sectors as retail trade, mining, and oil and gas extraction.
StatsCan reports that the nominal GDP derived from digital economic activities in 2017 was $109.7 billion. It also reports that the digital economy grew notably faster than the overall economy between 2010 and 2017, growing by 40.2% over that period, compared with 28.0% for the overall economy.
Telecom represents the biggest component of the digital economy in Canada, at 28.7%, but this measure is down from 36.9% in 2010. At the same time, the contribution from e-commerce more than doubled, StatsCan reports, rising from 5.5% to 12.4%.
In terms of its impact on employment, StatsCan says the digital economy accounts for about 4.7% of all jobs in Canada, which is less than its contribution to GDP.
However, employment in the digital realm is growing rapidly, with the number of jobs rising by 37.0% between 2010 and 2017, compared with just 8.6% for the economy overall.
While the data released Friday represent StatsCan’s first attempt to measure the digital economy, the agency says it is exploring new ways to capture this output, including crowdsourcing and web scraping, instead of traditional economic surveys.