Commercial Software Price Index (CSPI)

Detailed information for February 2017





Record number:


The Commercial Software Price Index (CSPI) is a monthly series measuring the change in the purchase price of pre-packaged software typically bought by businesses and governments.

Data release - March 31, 2017


The Commercial Software Price Index (CSPI) is a monthly series measuring the change in the purchase price of pre-packaged software typically bought by businesses and governments. The index series is used by economists, industry analysts and the general public to track and comprehend events and trends in this important contributor to the Information, Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Reference period: The time period for which the CSPI equals 100; currently this is the year 2011.

Collection period: The week of the 15th of every month


  • Information and communications technology
  • Prices and price indexes

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The universe for the CSPI consists of all vendors or distributors of pre-packaged computer software in Canada.

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


A representative sample of products is chosen, monitored and replenished from the administrative data provided using the maximum overlap method. Under this method, software products contained in the price data files are compared for two successive periods, and those products that match are kept and make up the sample for that period. Those products which do not match are discarded. This process is then repeated every month.

Data sources

Data are collected from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Price data are obtained from International Data Corporation (IDC) of Canada Ltd. and are collected the week of the 15th of every month. Data used for producing the weights are obtained periodically from the IDC as well. IDC is a private firm that collects, analyses and distributes information on computers and the Information Technology (IT) sector in general.

Error detection

In the day-to-day collection and processing of these index series, emphasis is placed on the examination and evaluation of prices. Subject matter specialists monitor developments in the industry, which they compare to the price information received. Outliers or suspicious prices are identified during the initial data processing and then verified with the data supplier.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.



The weights for the CSPI are updated annually using the latest end-user spending on pre-packaged software. Annual weight data are provided by the International Data Corporation of Canada (IDC). These estimates represent end-user spending, including value-added through resale channels, on the software market in Canada.

The category weights are for the specific sub-groups: application development and deployment, collaborative applications, content applications, engineering applications, Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) applications, security software storage software and system software.


Price data from IDC are used to produce the price relatives for the index. The prices used are street prices and do not include taxes or shipping and handling charges. The street price is an estimate obtained by taking an average of the reseller cost by item. A unique identifier for each particular observation or software product (and version) is used to match observations from one month to the next. To produce the index, price relatives are calculated for each product matched and then the geometric mean is obtained for each category. The category weights are then used to aggregate the series to produce a total price index for business and government. This method is often referred to as the 'maximum overlap' method.

Quality evaluation

The quality of this index is maintained through the expertise of the few trained analysts assigned to it. They develop a thorough knowledge of the domain, which is supplemented by outside personal contacts with the data providers. Much time and effort is devoted to detecting and following up unusual fluctuations over time in the pricing patterns of goods and services. Prior to dissemination, the price indexes are analyzed and historic trends reviewed.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Collected data are converted to a price index and data are released as such, so that it is not possible to identify the suppliers of the original raw price information.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

All indexes are subject to a six-month revision period and data is not seasonally adjusted.

Data accuracy

The statistical accuracy of this index depends on price and weight data, which are obtained from an outside data source (IDC). Through continuous monitoring of the data received and discussion with the supplier, an acceptable level of data quality and integrity is maintained for the purposes of producing the price index series.

Due to the fact that administrative data is used, confidence intervals are not currently estimated and statements about the statistical reliability cannot be made.

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