Digital economy

Innovation: Outlook for IT industry improving, says OECD


OECD – Paris, 22 November 2010


The information technology industry is set to grow by 3-4% in 2010, having declined by 6% in 2009. Growth will exceed 4% in 2011 but a return to pre-crisis levels of growth remains unlikely, according to a new OECD report.


The OECD Information Technology Outlook 2010 says that spending by governments and business is set to remain weak in the months ahead in OECD countries, with new investment in hardware or software unlikely in the short-term.


Domestic consumption in emerging markets is helping to make up for the slack in the rest of the world. In China, for example, consumer spending on mobile and telecommunication services has picked up, driven by the move to third-generation mobile services and equipment.


The rapid growth of the online digital content industry continued in 2009, according to the report. The video games industry has roughly doubled global revenues since 2005 to exceed USD 50 billion in 2009. Meanwhile, the music and films industries have yet to show they can limit overall revenue declines by turning to business opportunities over the Internet. Growth rates are highest for online films, but from low levels, followed by online games, advertising and music.


During the global economic downturn firms tended to cut IT services costs across the board, but in the recovery more strategic activities have been maintained or increased, says the report. Companies are now focusing on consolidation and applications to maintain customers and markets.


The report also confirmed the trend of companies moving their production to lower-cost locations in OECD countries and Asian economies. The OECD-area ICT sector has shifted to services which now account for an average of 80% of total ICT sector value.


China’s role as a production and sourcing location has intensified. In 2008 China’s ICT exports were only slightly behind the combined exports of the United States, the EU27 (excluding intra-European trade) and Japan.


This edition of the IT Outlook also includes analysis of trends and developments in:

  • ICT skills and employment
  • Internet economy, including R&D spending and Internet use
  • Technology and green growth, including the development of technology applications in tackling climate change
  • How government policy on information technology is evolving.


For further information, journalists should contact Taylor Reynolds of the OECD’s Information and Communications Policy division (tel. + 33 1 45 24 93 84 or taylor.reynolds @


For a copy of the report, journalists should contact the OECD media division (tel. + 33 1 45 24 97 00 or @ )


More information and analysis is available at