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Economic value of search

Alpha Digital
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Every day hundreds of millions of people around the world access search engines such as Google on their computers or mobiles phones to search for information, look at products or find ways to help guide business decisions. However, the economic value of this activity of search has not been extensively studied. Recently Alpha Digital came across a very interesting study worth telling you about.

Most research to date has looked at metrics such as number of searches performed or revenues from advertising, such as using Google adwords. However, these estimates do not take into account searches that boost productivity in workplaces, allow for easier problem solving or making our lives easier.

McKinsey, a global consulting company, has recently looked at the benefits of search and tried to place an economic value on its activity.

They found:

  1. Total gross value of Internet search across the global economy was $780 billion in 2009, equivalent to the GDP of the Netherlands or Turkey. By this estimate, each search is worth about $0.50.
  2. Of that value, $540 billion—69 percent of the total and 25 times the annual value added (profits) of search companies—flowed directly to global GDP, chiefly in the form of
    e-commerce, advertising revenues, and higher corporate productivity. Search accounted for 1.2 percent of US and for 0.5 percent of India’s GDP.
  3.  The remaining $240 billion (31 percent) does not show up in GDP statistics. It is captured by individuals rather than companies, in the form of consumer surplus, and
    arises from unmeasured benefits, such as lower prices, convenience, and the time saved by swift access to information.
  4. Value stemmed directly from online shopping, as well as from online research that led to an in-store sale. US retailers saw as much as $67 billion in search-related revenues, Brazil’s retailers as much as $2.4 billion.
  5. Knowledge workers experienced search-related productivity gains of up to $117 billion, flowing from faster and more accurate access to information.
All in all, it points to the enormous economic value created by search activity and importance of this area.

You can read the full article here: Impact_of_Internet_technologies_search