Technological advancements have led to a surge in data generation and storage in recent years. As a result of this Big Data revolution, a slew of supplementary indicators is now available and can be used to estimate the performance of key economic activities. In particular, real-time Big Data can provide immediate insights into consumer behaviour, especially when more traditional economic indicators are typically released with a time lag. This form of contemporaneous forecasting or ‘nowcasting’ is of particular interest as it can inform economic surveillance by providing timely estimates of key economic indicators. For instance, the volume of queries on search engines which are available on a real-time basis can be a proxy for consumer interest and in turn, be used as an indicator to forecast the growth of consumer-oriented sectors.
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