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Australia has a love affair with online trading

Figures released today have shown online trading in Australia is increasing at a rapid rate.

The online economy has been valued at $50 billion in 2010, which accounts for 3.6 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product and is comparable to Australia's iron ore export market.

Search giant Google commissioned the report from Deloitte Access Economics, which was released today (August 3).

The news comes as no surprise – retailers have spent the last month publicly reporting drops in sales for physical store locations whilst noticing a boom in their online stores.

A number of other interesting statistics have surfaced from the report, which give an insight into Australia's relationship with the internet.

An estimated 190,000 people are employed in roles that are directly related to the internet including IT companies, online retailers and everything in between.

Government and businesses also have seen a productivity boost of $27 billion as the internet continues to streamline services and overall operations.

The internet allows these benefits to be passed onto consumers in the form of cheaper prices for goods and reductions in fees.

Deloitte forecasts a further $20 billion in growth for the online economy to occur by 2016, a rate which is twice as fast as the rest of the economy.

The road ahead is expected to see more and more businesses invest in websites, as currently only 50 per cent of surveyed SMEs reported owning one.

Perhaps the most interesting figure of all concerns overall internet usage, which has doubled in the past four years.

Australians spend an average of 45 minutes daily online for personal leisure time, a great portion of it on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The advantage for businesses is clear – Facebook campaigns are reaching more and more Australians each year and there are currently no signs of the trend slowing down.