The Internet -- that 200 million-person, $8 trillion global economy -- accounted for 21 percent of GDP growth in the world's largest economies over the last 5 years, McKinsey found in a report released this week.* As an entity, it accounts for more GDP than the Spanish or Canadian economies, and it's growing faster than Brazil. As a sector, it is now larger than these countries' agriculture or energy industries.
Sweeping statements about the size and growth of the Internet are tough to swallow. So here are three highlights from the new McKinsey report:
1. What Is the Internet Economy?
There is a lot of Internet to measure, with two hundred million global consumers and $8 trillion in total revenue. So McKinsey's report limited its scope to the online economy in the G-8 countries plus five more: Brazil, China, India, South Korea and Brazil. It defined Internet activities as private consumption (electronic equipment, e-commerce, broadband subscriptions, mobile Internet, and hardware and software consumption); private investment (from the telecommunications industry and the maintenance of extranet, intranet, and Web sites); public expenditure (spending and buying by government in software hardware and services); and trade (which accounts for exports of Internet equipment plus business-to-business services with overseas companies).