The internet has brought significant economic benefit to Australia’s economy, and data-driven innovation has the potential to contribute $139 billion each year by 2020. This is estimated to constitute around 7.3% of the country’s GDP (Deloitte 2015).
Between 2013 and 2014 alone, the internet is estimated to have contributed approximately $79 billion to Australia’s GDP, according to Deloitte (Deloitte 2015). Small businesses in particular have reaped the benefits of increased digital engagement -- those with high levels of digital engagement enjoy broader sources of revenue and favorable growth prospects.
In 2013, a study of over 500 Australian small businesses found that full use of the internet makes a small business twice as likely to grow in revenue as those with low levels of digital engagement. 75% of revenue growth for digitally engaged businesses was created by reaching new customers, according to the study (Deloitte 2013). Google products and services that help to grow businesses’ customer bases, such as Google Search and AdWords, supported an estimated $15.1 billion in benefits, according to a 2016 study. Other services such as Google AdSense and YouTube help content creators generate advertising revenue (AlphaBeta 2016).
Leveraging the opportunities afforded by the internet, Australia’s tech startup scene is also having a larger impact on the country’s economy. This is expected to continue in the future, with a 2013 study estimating that these startups have the potential to generate $109 billion and bring 540,000 jobs to Australia by 2033 (Pricewaterhouse Coopers 2013).
In addition to directly benefitting Australia’s GDP and the country’s small businesses and tech startups, the digital economy has generated substantial indirect benefits. In its 2015 report, Deloitte highlights that the digital economy allows households to quickly search for information, access goods and services from a variety of locations, conveniently undertake a range of activities (e.g. paying bills) and conduct recreational activities (e.g. social media and browsing). While difficult to quantify, these benefits are estimated to have been worth $75 billion between 2013 and 2014 (Deloitte 2015).