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Software development and computer services, 2015

Released: 2017-02-17

The software development and computer services industries earned operating revenue totalling $60.3 billion in 2015, up 8.2% from 2014.

The three industries classified to software development and computer services are computer systems design and related services, software publishers, and data processing, hosting and related services.

Computer systems design and related services, the largest of the three industries, reported $46.2 billion in operating revenue, up 7.2% from 2014, and operating expenses at $40.8 billion in 2015, resulting in an operating profit margin of 11.8%.

Most of the sales (44.3%) for this industry were derived from information technology technical consulting services.

Software publishers, the second largest industry, produced $9.7 billion in operating revenue in 2015, up from $8.5 billion a year earlier. The operating expenses increased by 15.6% to $9.0 billion, generating an operating profit margin of 7.1% in 2015, down from 8.8% in 2014.

Sales for this industry were derived mainly from application software publishing (36.0%) and system software publishing (20.9%).

The smallest of the three industries, data processing, hosting and related services, generated $4.3 billion in operating revenue in 2015, up 6.9% from 2014. Operating expenses of $3.9 billion in 2015 yielded an operating profit margin of 10.8%, down from 11.2% the year before.

Most of the data processing, hosting and related services sales came from the sales of hosting (43.5%) and transformation services (41.3%).

Sales to businesses in Canada accounted for the largest share of sales by type of client for each of the three industries, amounting to 48.6% for software publishers, 61.0% for computer systems design and related services, and 62.6% for the data processing, hosting and related services industry.

With a highly skilled workforce, the largest expense item for each industry was salaries, wages, commissions and benefits, ranging from 38.5% of total operating expenses for the data processing, hosting and related services industry to 49.0% for the software publishers industry.

The evolution of software development and computer services in Canada

Over the past few decades, computers have revolutionized the world we live in. In 1980, the computer service industry totalled just under $0.9 billion in operating revenue, and engaged 17,629 paid employees. In 2015, the scope of the industry has evolved and expanded into the three industries of computer systems design, software publishers, and data processing and hosting, with a 60-fold increase in total operating revenue and employing 247,467 personnel.

  Note to readers

Data for 2013 and 2014 have been revised.

Data related to 1980 are from the annual publication Software Development and Computer Service Industry, 1985 (Catalogue number63-222-X).

Data related to 2015 (except number of employees) come from the 2015 Software Development and Computer Services Survey (survey number 2410).

Number of employees related to 2015 from Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours, CANSIM table 281-0024.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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