Digital growth in Europe

The development of a Digital Single Market is one of Europe's top ten priorities.

The EU estimates the development of a Digital Single Market could create up to €250 billion in additional growth along with hundreds of thousands of new jobs.  The latest EU-wide statistics show that:

  • 75% of Europeans use the Internet on a regular basis (up from 72% in 2013)
  • Internet use figures range from 93% in Luxembourg to 48% in Romania
  • 49% of online Europeans have downloaded games, images, films or music.
  • 39% of households that have a TV watch video on demand
  • Only 15% of SMEs sell online – and fewer than half of that 15% sell across borders
  • 33% of internet users have access to digital public services – but this ranges from 69% in Denmark to 6% in Romania

Europe’s latest Digital Economy and Society Index tracks European progress towards a digital economy and society.  The latest figures show continued development – but at a variable pace.

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) explores five key dimensions of digital success:

  • Connectivity (levels of – and access to - broadband)
  • Digital public services
  • Digital skills
  • Integration of digital technology  - how organisations exploit digital technology
  • Use of Internet – the range of activities carried out by online citizens

After each country was measured against these factors, they were divided into low, medium and high performance groups.

High performing countries

Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands and Finland are the highest performing countries. They are not only ahead in the EU, but they are world leaders in digital.  Of these Denmark performed the best with a total score of 0.68 out of a maximum of 1.0.

Medium performing countries

Belgium, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Luxembourg, Ireland, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Austria, France, Malta, Portugal and the Czech Republic are all doing well in some areas of digital performance but still need to progress in others. 

The UK has made particular progress in digital public services and connectivity.  However, more work needs to be done with digital skills – particularly as the supply of ICT professionals fails to keep pace with demand.

Worse performing countries

Latvia, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Cyprus, Poland, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania all need to improve their overall performance.  The worst performing country of all – Romania – has an overall performance of 0.31.

Greece and Spain make the most progress

  • Greece improved its performance in all five dimensions – although it still remains in the group of worst performing countries.
  • Spain, which was already performing above the EU average, has continued to improve and is now the 12th best performing country in Europe

Sources: The EU Digital Single Market; Euromove;