The internet essential for fifty thousand businesses

The Netherlands has more than 50 thousand businesses which largely rely on the internet for their revenues, including webshops and companies selling online services as well as internet-related ICT services. They represent 3 percent of all businesses in the Netherlands. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), this group forms the core of the internet economy, as is shown by new research in cooperation with Google which is based on big data supplied by Dataprovider. On the other hand, a majority of the 1.5 million businesses active in the Netherlands do not operate a website. It mainly concerns self-employed entrepreneurs, nearly 70 percent of whom do not have a corporate website.
It is the first time CBS has classified businesses on the basis of information available on their websites. Internet activities can be gauged by analysing corporate websites on the basis of text and the presence of payment functions, for example. Six categories can be distinguished. Dataprovider, a specialised company, has captured the relevant information by applying web crawling technology. On the basis of identifying information on the website, a link was made with the CBS business register. The combination of big data with regular CBS statistics about the businesses behind the websites led to a first calculation of the size of the Dutch internet economy. The focus was on the number of businesses, turnover results and employment.

Producing statistics based on big data is a new step CBS is taking on its path towards innovation. The recently opened Center for Big Data Statistics (CBDS) will be focused on this new method of measurement. Internet economy research provides additional insights and results which will lead to enrichment of the current statistics. Further studies will show the extent to which these statistics can be incorporated into existing ones and the answers they can provide to future users.