Commercial Software Price Index (CSPI)

Detailed information for March 2021





Record number:


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

Data release - April 28, 2021


The Commercial Software Price Index (CSPI) is a monthly series measuring the change in the purchase price of 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 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 extracted from administrative files.

The data is bought from International Data Corporation (IDC) and therefore doesn't fall under the Statistics Act. The data is used to produce price indexes. The data processing conducted by IDC is as follows:

1) Run automatic data collection processes for those sources where data can be collected automatically via web scraping technology and other tools.

2) Manually collect data from remaining (non-automated) sources like distributor and retailer monthly data feeds.

3) A manual review of all raw data collected in phases 1 and 2 is conducted, with a focus on resolving any duplicate SKUs as well as finding and inputing any missing data characteristics.

4) Oddities in the data (eg., disproportionate price changes) are automatically flagged for manual review. These oddities are manually reviewed and resolved.

5) The final manual inspection of the deliverable report finds and resolves any remaining duplicate SKUs.

Error detection

Products that have large price movements are investigated and excluded from the estimation if a justification isn't found.


No imputation is done for this statistical program.


The weights for the CSPI are updated using the latest end-user spending on the software market in Canada. Annual weight data are provided by the International Data Corporation of Canada (IDC).

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 product. A unique identifier for each particular observation or software (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.

The data provider's collection methodology has recently changed and weighting is not possible at this time until the software prices can be categorized. Once the software reclassification is complete, weights will be re-applied and historical data may be revised. There should be minimal impact on the overall Commercial Software Price Index as a historical comparison of the weighted and unweighted indexes yielded comparable results.

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 price indexes and data are released as such, so that it is not possible to identify the suppliers of raw prices.

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 purpose of producing the price index.

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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