Digital drives Australian economy


The “digital disruption” market is capped at AU $79 billion and growing through to 2020.  Track the latest forecasts and implications for government.

The internet and digital technologies will remain critical to Australia’s growth – with this sector capped at AU $79 billion. The digital technologies include the cloud, smart hand-held devices, and social networks, according to Deloitte Access Economics.

These are the new “beach-heads” driving Australian prosperity. From a ground-level base, digital platforms are increasingly more pervasive across the “connected continent.” These touch all aspects of consumer, business and government communication.

The March Deloitte report builds on one commissioned earlier by Google. This report flags a continued growth in mobile communications, internet and digital services, smart-phones, data analytics as well as the machine-to-machine technologies.

More than $139 billion sector by 2020

If the digital economy were an “industry,” by 2020, the GDP would hit AU$139 billion, says Deloitte. This projection draws on the impact of communications and computing power across business and the broader economy.
Businesses are changing and responding to emerging digital technologies. The front-runners include retail, manufacturing, finance and business services.

“We are now seeing internal business transformational change, through the next wave of related technologies – cloud, data analytics, and machine-to-machine technologies,” says the report.

Digital technologies will drive business transformation. These encompass traditional areas like retail and manufacturing through to the service businesses such as banking.

Across the information communication technology (ICT) workforce, there’re an estimated 451,000 ICT specialists. These represent 4 per cent of overall employment.

Most ICT specialists or 97 per cent work outside the technology industry. They’re hired across industries like manufacturing, construction, professional services, health, education and government.

Capitalising on mobility

Among the trends, mobile access to the internet and digital services using smartphones or connected devices is prompting new ways to present information to consumers. This is increasingly on smaller screens and capitalises on the trends around usage.

There’s the wider impact on national welfare or social services using digital and social media. This is led by consumer benefits in terms of choice and ease of access. These services are estimated at around AU$75 billion, and include benefits for the recipients of government services.

Building digital trust

On the finance front, institutions like the ANZ Bank are building a digital culture. This is led by improving customer experiences and maintaining trust. This trust-building is supported by “ANZ Digital” and its integration into the core of ANZ’s commercial strategy and operations.

Frontline bankers now evaluate and rate the quality of leads and customer offers. This is supported by star ratings that’re fed back to central teams managing lead generation or offers.

“In the past quarter, year on year digital sales at ANZ Bank have grown by 80 per cent over the previous period. Digital sales are products and services that are marketed to consumers and purchased through a digital platform, such as or the ANZ mobile app.”

Tracking the leads

Information for sales and marketing is being led by computerised information. This leverages user-generated content, social profiles and the behaviour patterns involving users.

“The collection and use of this data allows businesses to extract significant value. Similarly, organisational capital such as brand equity is also valuable and companies such as Google, WhatsApp or Amazon have built substantial digital engagement over time, which serves to reinforce their market presence.”
Sectors driving demand

Retail is most heavily transformed by digital technologies. “The emergence of online shopping and the internet more broadly have changed how consumers buy products and services and what they are buying.”

Moreover, retail faces intensified competition from online and overseas vendors, forcing a rethink around access to products and services.

In finance, a new technology can have a tremendous, if sometimes unexpected impact on the structure of financial markets. “This is what we are seeing today: digital innovation is playing an increasing role in how major financial institutions compete, both in attracting customers and increasing productivity in their own internal operations.”

In the business services’ space, digital platforms, including the cloud mean that business owners can use services for key business functions, and at substantially less cost.

The business incentive to go digital is led by demands to reach new customers and respond to their needs. This includes leveraging online and social media.