5th International Seminar on Big Data for Official Statistics
Measuring the Digital Economy

29 - 31 May 2024 Xiamen, China


A distinctive characteristic of the digital economy is the intensive use by businesses of ICT for the collection, storage, processing and transmission of information. Business data from some industrialized countries show that improvements in productivity can be explained, at least partly, by use of ICT, which in turn is supported by supply of goods and services produced by the ICT sector and through trade. A robust ICT sector can also contribute to aggregate labor productivity growth.

The notion of the digital economy has become commonplace to describe how digital technology is changing patterns of production (supply) and consumption (demand). The different technologies and economic aspects of the digital economy can be broken down into three broad components: Core aspects of the digital economy, which comprise fundamental innovations (semiconductors, processors), core technologies (computers, telecommunication devices) and enabling infrastructures (Internet and telecoms networks).

Many sectors of the economy are being digitalized. This includes digitally enabled sectors in which new activities or business models have emerged as a result of digital technologies. Examples include finance, media, tourism and transportation. At the same time, digital transformation has permitted consumers to access a larger variety of goods and services, while exercising greater control over the characteristics of the transaction processes. This phenomenon is becoming near universal due to the continual growth of internet use in all countries with two thirds of the world's population now using the internet.

Despite extensive digitalization across economies, digitally focused indicators are absent within the System of National Accounts, the standard statistical framework for measuring economic activity. The Digital Supply-Use Tables framework was created to improve the visibility of and information available on digital phenomena while being consistent with the existing national account statistics.


The compilation of Digital SUTs does not make existing efforts to measure e-commerce, the ICT sector, or ICT products redundant; on the contrary the framework is enabled by these initiatives. The Digital SUTs framework goes beyond e-commerce and ICTs, as it includes the digital products being produced as well as actors that are reliant on digitalization to generate their contribution to the economy.

Against this background, the overarching objective of the 5th International Seminar is to empower staff members from NSOs from developing countries and emerging economies with the knowledge and skills necessary to produce high-quality digital economy statistics. By enhancing statistical capacity in this critical area, the seminar aims to enable NSOs to fulfill their mandate of providing accurate, timely, relevant and internationally comparable data to inform policymaking, monitor progress, and drive sustainable development.