The IT industry’s contribution to GDP has grown one and a half times in four years.

The IT industry's contribution to GDP has grown one and a half times in four years.


In the context of balanced support from the industry regulator after the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, which allowed the IT industry to retain personnel and expand activity with unprecedented tax benefits, its contribution to GDP grew to almost 2% in 2023 from 1.3% in 2019, making IT is the first among large industries in terms of growth rate of its share in the economy. As noted by the Institute of Statistical Research and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK) of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, the industry is ahead of others in terms of sales growth, the dynamics of the number of employees and salaries, and the growth of investments against the backdrop of accelerating domestic demand for import substitution of software and IT equipment.

The IT industry became the leader in growth rates among large sectors of the economy in 2019–2023, ISSEK calculations show, its contribution to GDP reached 1.96% in 2023 versus 1.3% in 2019 (1.5 times growth) . By IT, experts understand the activities of software development and data processing. Since 2019, in terms of the dynamics of gross added value, it has been ahead of most other large industries – the average annual growth rate in real terms over four years exceeded 10%. The volume of sales of own products and services in IT grew by an average of 26% per year, amounting to almost 3.1 trillion rubles in 2023. Both the number and salaries of employees increased at a faster pace: the first – by 11% annually, to 857 thousand people in 2023 (an increase of 1.5 times), the average salary in the industry reached 155.9 thousand rubles. (growth 1.7 times, now twice the economic average). “Only in May-July 2022 was there a short-term decline (in the number of employees.— “Kommersant”), however, by October 2022, the industry had made up for minor losses,” notes ISSEK.

It should be noted that this is largely the result of the active work of the Ministry of Digital Development to preserve IT personnel potential in 2022, including lobbying by the Ministry of reservation for employees, the abandonment of restrictions on travel and similar measures, as well as the expansion of economic support instruments – from tax breaks to IT mortgages and government order. Last year, the head of the Ministry of Digital Development, Maksut Shadayev, with reference to large IT companies, stated that a reverse relocation program for IT specialists is not needed, since specialists are actively returning to the Russian Federation on their own initiative (see Kommersant on April 5).

Investments in fixed capital in IT in 2023 reached 495 billion rubles. (an increase of 4.4 times), on average they increased by 45% per year. The main increase occurred in 2022 and 2023, which is due to the intensification of the development of import-substituting mass-produced software, the expansion of the IT infrastructure of Russian cloud services, and the sharp demand for computing power. The state of the industry was positively influenced by both domestic demand for digital technologies and active import substitution of software and IT equipment, according to ISSEK. Moreover, the trend continued both in the “Covid” year of 2020 and in 2022–2023 under the conditions of sanctions restrictions on foreign technological solutions. According to Tamara Zinina, Deputy Director of the ISSEK Center for Strategies and Programs, in 2024, in general, the same factors for the development of the IT industry will operate as in 2023 – continued import substitution of software, at least maintaining the current volumes of custom development and IT support services and development of IT systems, further growth in demand for Russian cloud services.

General Director of ANO Digital Economy Sergei Plugotarenko confirms the great role of balanced government and support measures for both IT companies and IT specialists themselves in the development of the industry. “In general, the growth rate will depend largely on government policy in this area after 2024, in particular on the extension of tax benefits for software developers, as well as support for developments within the framework of roadmaps for high-tech areas,” he says. Let us remind you that until the end of 2024 there is a zero income tax rate for IT companies (see “Kommersant” dated January 23, 2023). The Ministry of Digital Development expects to extend the benefit, although, according to Maksut Shadayev, it will propose limiting the number of its recipients by revenue to a certain ceiling. As Kommersant was informed by the press service of the Ministry of Finance, the issue will be considered after assessing the effectiveness of such benefits based on the results of companies’ reporting for 2023.

Venera Petrova


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