Digital Economy

BEA is developing tools to better capture the effects of fast-changing technologies on the U.S. economy and on global supply chains. The project seeks to calculate the digital economy's contribution to U.S. GDP, improve measures of high-tech goods and services, and offer a more complete picture of international trade. Other goals are to advance research for digital goods and services, the sharing economy and free digital content, and to explore economic measures beyond GDP to better understand Americans' well-being.

Toward a Digital Economy Satellite Account

Update
A new report with statistics covering the period from 2005 to 2018 was released in August 2020. This update expands the coverage of e-commerce in the digital economy estimates and presents a new estimate for cloud services.

BEA includes in its definition of the digital economy three major types of goods and services:

  • Infrastructure, or the basic physical materials and organizational arrangements that support the existence and use of computer networks and the digital economy; primarily information and communications technology (ICT) goods and services.
  • E-commerce, or the remote sale of goods and services over computer networks.
  • Priced digital services, or those services related to computing and communication and that are performed for a fee charged to the consumer.

BEA is continuing to explore data and methodology to expand coverage of the digital economy estimates as we work toward a digital economy satellite account. For more information on the goods and service currently included in the BEA estimates, please see the latest report "New Digital Economy Estimates" from August 2020.

Feedback Opportunity

BEA would like input from users to refine these estimates and further the effort to develop a comprehensive digital economy satellite account. BEA is requesting feedback on the following questions:

  • Does the definition proposed by BEA accurately define the digital economy?
  • What goods and services not captured in the current definition of the digital economy should BEA consider in scope for the digital economy satellite account? Are there goods and services currently included in the definition that should not be included?
  • What datasets could BEA use to estimate in-scope shares of partially digital goods and services?
  • Who would use these new statistics and what would they use them for (please provide specific examples)?
  • Beyond statistics on value added, output, employment, and compensation, what other types of digital economy statistics would be useful?
  • Why are these new statistics needed? What benefits would flow to users from BEA-produced statistics in this area that they couldn't get elsewhere?

Please email all comments to DigitalEconomy@bea.gov.

International Trade in ICT and Potentially ICT-Enabled Services

BEA's statistics on trade in information and communications technology (ICT) and potentially ICT-enabled services complement its standard presentation of international trade in services statistics by examining the extent to which ICT may be used to facilitate trade in services. ICT services are those used to facilitate information processing and communication; potentially ICT-enabled services are services that can predominantly be delivered remotely over ICT networks. BEA measures potentially ICT-enabled services rather than ICT-enabled services themselves because for many types of services the actual mode of delivery is unknown.

  • Previously Published Estimates XLS
    Country estimates in these files use a slightly different definition of ICT and potentially ICT-enabled services than in the interactive data.

Price Measurement of High-Tech Goods and Services

BEA is consistently working toward improving price measurement, especially for high-tech goods and services which frequently experience changing characteristics, improved quality, and price changes relative to other goods and services.

Other Research and Information

What is the Digital Economy?

Measures the digital economy's contribution to U.S. GDP, improves measures of high-tech goods and services, and offers a more complete picture of international trade. Includes valuing digital-enabling infrastructure, e-commerce transactions, and digital media.

Learn More

Stay on top of updates...

Contact Personnel