• English

The importance of the internet’s role in the global economy and national markets is under-researched and underappreciated.

The Internet Association published a paper stressing that the importance of the internet’s role in the global economy and national markets is under-researched and underappreciated. More broadly, this study argues that the way in which we conceive and approach the internet must change. The report calls for a modern appreciation of what the internet does for the worldwide economy and presents a review of recent literature to illustrate how and why such a method is needed.

The speed of the growth and development of the internet has meant that much of what we know is either several years old and already outdated or incomplete given the rise of new businesses and industries. All the statistics either use data that are several years old or are projections made from five years ago or longer, which proves the need for improved and more recent research and data. Additionally, none of the past studies provide broad insight into the complete range of elements that make up the internet economy. And lastly, these studies cite the shortage of and complications in identifying proper data and classifications to facilitate measurements.

The Internet Association proposes two updates to the existing way we view the internet economy. The first is the creation of a new primary classification code for services and products that are offered exclusively through internet platforms. The second update is to add two distinct sub-classifications to each current industrial subsectors for the direct provision of traditional services and products through the internet (such as online purchases from a retail store) and new products and services that draw on traditional sectors offered through new and unique internet platforms (such as ride-sharing services). The study concludes that if the approach to classifying and conceptualizing the internet as an economic sector does not change, its impact will continue to be undervalued.