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Digitizing Europe


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Rapport sur l'incidence de la numérisation sur l'emploi en Europe

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Digitizing Europe

  2. 2. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for- profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep in­sight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable compet­itive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 85 offices in 48 countries. For more information, please visit
  4. 4. 2 | Digitizing Europe CONTENTS 3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 6 IMPACT OF DIGITIZATION Value Created for People, Businesses, and Nations Considering Both Sides of Increased Digitization 9 EUROPE’S DIGITAL FRONTRUNNERS Digitization as an Economy Driver 14 THE DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY Toward a Digitized European Market Valuing the Digital Opportunity Impact on jobs 19 THE CASE FOR URGENT ACTION Need to Re-Focus Europe’s Digital Agenda The Rapid Rise of Asian Digital Tiger Economies Threats to Digitally Powered Trade 26 WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE 28 APPENDIX: A NATIONAL DIGITAL AGENDA FRAMEWORK 31 APPENDIX: METHODOLOGY 34 NOTE TO THE READER
  5. 5. The Boston Consulting Group | 3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Europe’s digital frontrunner countries must make faster and broader digitization a top priority and provide strong European leadership at the highest political levels to guide cooperation across nations to secure future growth and employ- ment. Digitization constitutes a transformative shift in technology across in- dustry and society in general. While the positive impact of digitization is expected to benefit the entire continent, some EU nations stand to gain more than others and therefore should help pull Europe toward a more digitized economy for the benefit of all. These same nations also have more to lose from a lack of progress in European digitization. The economies of the nations we define as frontrunners (the group consisting of Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Estonia, Ireland, Finland, Norway, and Luxembourg) are to a greater extent driven by economic activities related to the Internet and information and communications technology (ICT). They are characterized by hav- ing a relatively small population and being well-digitized, innovative, and export-dependent, making them more dependent on easy access to a large digital market. Digital frontrunners’ businesses are on aver- age more digitized, and many are also more competitive than the businesses in less digitized countries. This, coupled with access to a much larger market, is a main reason these nations capture a larger share of the anticipated added economic value of an open and fully digitized Europe. A European digital single market (DSM) would encompass more than 500 million consumers and is expected to add €415 billion in annual GDP to the EU. The more digitized frontrunner nations would see the largest benefits from a more digitized European economy, with their average GDP growth rate potentially increasing by 40 percent until 2020, double the increase in the growth rate of EU Big 5 countries for the same period.
  6. 6. 4 | Digitizing Europe If the frontrunner countries also were to fully capture and benefit from expected emerging high-technology markets at a rate propor- tional to the size of their economies, the combined net effect with DSM on GDP growth could be an increase in excess of 80 percent, up from a 2.2 percent expected annual growth to a 3.9 percent expected annual GDP growth until 2020, placing these economies among the fastest growing in the world, adding €264 billion in annual GDP by 2020. Looking at the combined impact on the labor market of the two factors above, we estimate that the net effect (difference be- tween jobs gained and jobs lost due to digitization) would be an additional 1.6 million to 2.3 million jobs between 2015 and 2020 in the frontrunner nations. Unfortunately, there are signs that digital is neither accelerated nor ambitious enough to keep Europe and the frontrunners at the fore- front of global competitiveness. At the European level, the debate on digitization reflects widely dif- fering opinions on the importance and value of digitization and an absence of a strong enough voice and thought leadership for truly seizing the digital opportunity. The EU’s DSM plan itself is broad, cre- ating a risk of a lack of prioritization. As a result, progress on key ar- eas of opportunity, such as the removal of obstacles to small business- es expanding into European markets, is unlikely to be fast enough. In addition, the DSM plan contains many proposals for new legislation and regulation, where the use of a wider set of policy tools, such as self regulation, might allow for more flexible and quicker solutions to be developed. Globally, Europe’s competitors, notably Asian nations (Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, South Korea) are undergoing rapid digitization. At this rate, Europe will be surpassed by these more digitally inclined econo- mies, leaving the Continent in a digital backwater on the global scene, with capital, talent, and growth focused elsewhere. The EU in general and the frontrunners in particular stand to lose sig- nificantly. The price of inaction or of falling into a “complacency trap” is great. Europe is currently at a digital crossroads, with a unique chance to either capture an immense opportunity, or see the region fall behind other nations. We cannot afford to live on old merits in the digital world, the loss of potential growth and jobs would be too great. And the frontrunner countries are even more sensitive than the EU as a whole to a lost digital opportunity, since a larger share of their econ- omies is digitized, and the majority of their future growth is digitally enabled. The European digital frontrunners have a key role to play and a re- sponsibility to act as Europe’s engine to avoid this scenario, and in- stead drive a more ambitious strategic dialogue at the highest politi- cal and policy levels to make the digital transition happen at a sufficiently fast pace for Europe to remain competitive in a rapidly digitizing world.
  7. 7. The Boston Consulting Group | 5 At the EU level, with the weight of their combined voices, digital frontrunners must use their ambitions, insights, and optimism, to bear to reshape Europe’s digital debate. A truly digitized single European market requires leaders willing to promote future-­ proof and innovation-friendly measures. They can bring a greater focus to the policy issues that are likely to have the biggest im- pact for businesses across the region. At the global level, the digital frontrunners have the chance to shape the development of digital services and online commerce around the world. Immediate opportunities exist for mapping and drawing atten- tion to the barriers to digital trade as well as developing and promot- ing reform and then systematically updating trade frameworks. At a national level, the frontrunners should develop ambitious nation- al digital agendas, aspiring to reach global leadership in leveraging digitization and new technology to drive economic growth and job creation. Taking a leadership role is necessary for them to retain the credibility to push Europe’s digitization. These agendas should cover areas such as the rapid digitization of business and government ser- vices, pushing national SME’s to become European in terms of market ambitions, and improving digital skills, and they should be nurtured in a smart policy environment in which innovative technologies and business models can be developed and grown. This work requires clear, strong leadership at the highest politi- cal levels and solid cooperation across the range of policy issues. Prime ministers and ministers in charge of the economy of the digital frontrunners can lead Europe into an era of cooperation to define a clear overall vision, strategy, and set of priorities to achieve a higher degree of digitization. By joining forces, the digital frontrunners can have a real impact on the digitization of Europe, keeping the continent continuously com- petitive in the digital era and beyond.
  8. 8. 6 | Digitizing Europe IMPACT OF DIGITIZATION Digitization constitutes a transfor- mative shift in technology across industries and society in general. It funda- mentally changes the way people live, work, and communicate, and how they shop for and purchase goods and services. It changes the way companies are run, how customers are acquired, and how enterprises do busi- ness. The pace of change is rapid. Take the digital sharing economy: it was largely unheard of ten years ago, but in 2015, the combined market cap of privately held sharing-economy companies was rapidly approaching $150 billion, dominated by Airbnb, a platform for listing and renting lodgings, and Uber, a mobile app-based ride-request company. Digitizing a society will involve most indus- tries and sectors. Some of the technological shifts that are driving ongoing digitization are the Internet of Things (IoT), which enables connectivity of a vast array of objects, and re- mote monitoring and control through online platforms, as well as big data analytics, ad- vanced robotics, and new forms of visualiza- tion through augmented and virtual reality (see Exhibit 1). SOCIAL, LOCAL, MOBILE Engage with customers in a relevant and continuous way UBIQUITOUS CONNECTIVITY Always-on, high-speed broadband and mobile connectivity across all devices CLOUD COMPUTING Scalable processing power combined with shared cloud storage to build SaaS solutions BIG DATA / ADVANCED ANALYTICS Gain customer insights for personalized recommendations NEW DEVICE FORM FACTORS Wearable, flexible, embedded, or implanted digital devices INTERNET OF THINGS & SENSORS Intelligent products with sensors and IP addresses to control the environment 3D PRINTING Manufacture tailored products in smaller quantities, closer to the point-of-sale/use ADVANCED ROBOTICS Smart robots with the ability to react autonomously to unknown situations COGNITIVE COMPUTING System equipped with artificial intelligence to sense, predict, and infer independently SIMULATION Powerful (3D) simulation software for education, product testing, and R&D AUGMENTED REALITY View of the real-world augmented with context-relevant information SYSTEM INTEGRATION Linking together individual computing systems and software applications Source: BCG analysis Exhibit 1 | Digital Technology Reshaping Industries and Societies
  9. 9. The Boston Consulting Group | 7 Value Created for People, Businesses, and Nations Digitization creates value for individuals, cor- porations, and society alike (see Exhibit 2). On the corporate side, it can expand reach- able markets for companies both domestical- ly and internationally, increasing sales poten- tial. Businesses also benefit from the productivity increase that comes with digiti- zation of corporate processes, for instance in digitized supply chains, automated produc- tion lines, and digitized distribution systems for customer deliveries. Existing business models in established in- dustries are being challenged by models based on digitization, giving rise to new com- panies that can contribute to society through new jobs and increased tax revenue. Digital platforms, through the sharing economy, in- crease the efficient use of available resources and assets, for example for housing and trans- portation. This benefits both citizens and the environment. Going digital can help governments increase their overall efficiency through productivity increases in tax collection and data manage- ment. E-government initiatives and big data tools open up the possibility of analyzing so- cietal trends as well as combating fraud and misuse of public services. Increasing access to non-sensitive government data through e-gov- ernment services may also boost innovation in the private sector by encouraging new uses of public data. Citizens will benefit from the increased com- petition digitization will engender, giving them access to the best products and services at the lowest price. More competition would also push European companies to improve their products and service offerings, and con- sequently their competiveness. Companies, citizens, and society as a whole gain from a more open job market with digitized recruit- ment, where supply and demand are more efficiently matched and trained and talented people fill the new positions. These are just some of the ways in which digiti- zation will be an important driver of GDP and job growth on a country and regional level. Considering Both Sides of Increased Digitization While the increased digitization of markets comes with many benefits, there are some ar- eas of concern that should be noted. Fre- quently mentioned are privacy and data secu- rity, fear of industries and companies being exposed to strong global competition, and new technologies that might to some extent Values for companies Values for citizensValues for government Access to bigger market – increasing sales Values for nations Increased productivity potential through digitization of business processes and business models Better access to talent thanks to better reach of digital channels Digitization is a key driver for GDP growth Digitization has a positive net impact on job creation Open access to government data can spur innovation and new uses of available data Increased competition – consumers can find the best products at the lowest price-point Access to new types of products and services (e.g. sharing economy) Better employment possibilities through facilitated access to available job positions Facilitated access to government services through e-government services Increasing productivity in government operations such as tax collection and data management Potential to identify and reduce fraud and misuse of public services Identify and analyze societal trends with big data tools More efficient communication with citizens and businesses Source: BCG analysis Exhibit 2 | How Digitization Drives Value for Countries, Companies, and Citizens Alike
  10. 10. 8 | Digitizing Europe replace jobs of today – such as artificial intel- ligence and robotics. Digitization brings about rapid shifts and potentially abrupt turns, giving rise to considerable uncertainty. This makes it difficult for governments and companies to plan for the long term and make the right decisions. The path forward lies in look- ing for opportunities and ad- dressing hurdles in an open and solution-oriented debate. We believe there are ways to tackle these is- sues. First, acknowledge that new technolo- gies and business models can present real challenges for governments, industry, and in- dividuals. In many cases the technologies and services are at an early stage, so it’s difficult to judge what their impact will be. Early ac- knowledgement of the challenges gives time to adjust. Policy solutions are often not clear, but governments should engage in an open, proactive, and solution-oriented debate with stakeholders. Wherever possible, we think governments should support new technology trials in order to play a positive role in shaping the technol- ogy and industry environment. A certain de- gree of risk-taking will be needed when mak- ing decisions in uncertain situations, but the risk should be shared, where possible. Assess- ing and trying different options continuously and being open-minded makes for more nim- ble organizations with more informed and skilled workers, and facilitates a change of course for governments – and indeed compa- nies–when it is needed. This will allow a na- tion or region to have a chance to stay com- petitive from a digital perspective, to help develop local skills needed for the future, and to lay the foundation for more informed poli- cy-making.
  11. 11. The Boston Consulting Group | 9 Different countries and companies are embracing the switch to digital and reaping its benefits at varying rates. Although digitization creates value for the EU as a whole, some European countries stand to gain even more from increased digital market openness than others. These countries are well positioned to lead the digitization of Europe, but they are also have more at stake from a Europe failing to cope with the rapidly digitizing global economy. If we assess how European countries perform in a number of digitization and market-open- ness parameters, a group of high-performing nations emerges (see Exhibit 3). We refer to these countries as European digital frontrun- ners. The group as we define it consists of Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. These countries are characterized by being small in terms of population size, de- pendent on ICT exports, and highly digitized and innovative. We have included Belgium and Ireland–both of which show performance below frontrun- ner peers in terms of digitization–as they still outperform the remainder of European na- tions as shown in the 2016 DESI index by the European Commission which tracks the digi- tal competitiveness of EU countries (Belgium is ranked fifth and Ireland eighth out of EU’s 28 member states). They also fit the defini- tion of the frontrunner group as small and ex- port-dependent countries, and are showing some signs of positive development. Belgium, for example, has an appointed deputy prime minister in charge of the country’s digital agenda – a best practice worth highlighting. We have chosen to consider the UK as an EU Big 5 country as it shares many characteris- tics with its large EU peers, albeit with a rela- tively high degree of digitization. The average ICT goods and services exports as share of GDP for the digital frontrun- ners is 7.5 percent, compared with 1.9 percent for EU Big 5. Because the digital frontrunner countries are geographically small, they have a limited do- mestic market compared with bigger Europe- an countries, here represented by the EU Big 5 (Germany, France, the UK, Spain, and Italy). This in turn means that the digital frontrun- ners can benefit considerably from easier ac- cess to the vast European market. As noted above, the UK is a borderline case and could qualify as one of the digital frontrunners as well, given the country’s strong performance on multiple ICT-related factors. EUROPE’S DIGITAL FRONTRUNNERS
  12. 12. 10 | Digitizing Europe The average ICT goods and services exports as a share of GDP for the digital frontrunners is 7.5 percent, compared with 1.9 percent for EU Big 5, indicating that their economies are in- deed more dependent on exports than their bigger neighbors’. Reversing the perspective, we also see that the digital frontrunners are more vulnerable should the EU Digital Single Market not be realized to its full potential, with a great risk of slower growth and job losses as a likely consequence of a less digitized EU. Another characteristic of the digital frontrun- ners is that they are more digitized than their European peers (the UK excluded), as illustrat- ed by their higher scores in the BCG e-Intensi- ty index which measures to what extent a country has embraced the Internet (IT infra- structure and Internet access, e-commerce, and the engagement of businesses, consumers, and government in Internet-related activities). In terms of innovation, on average the digital frontrunners outperform EU Big 5 countries by 7 percent in the Global Innovation Index co-published yearly by Cornell University, IN- SEAD, and WIPO (World Intellectual Proper- ty Organization). The index rank world econ- omies’ innovation capabilities and results. The measure of innovation is a key driver in creating and improving products and services that can be exported and better compete in an open, competitive marketplace. The digital frontrunners have, on average, double the VC investment share of GDP of the EU Big 5. Being highly digitized and innovative, the dig- ital frontrunners are in a good position to benefit from efforts to remove regulatory and administrative barriers in the EU and global- ly, as that would result in a more open and accessible market and healthy competition. A high degree of digitization and innovation in- creases a country’s readiness and ability to access and offer competitive products and services in an open digital market. In other words, the companies in such a country are more competitive than less digitally devel- oped players who will find it harder to com- Population size (millions) n/a e-Intensity score 2016 EU Big 5 and Digital frontrunner countries 21 n/a ICT exports (% of GDP) 8 2 65 56 7 63 English proficiency score Broadband speed Average Mbps Venture Capital Investments ‰ of GDP Global innovation score Digital frontrunners EU Big 5 58 66 14 0.4 54 56 9 0.2 Note: Numbers have been rounded. For e-Intensity, Innovation, English proficiency scores: the higher the score, the better. Irish ICT exports have been adjusted downward to account for ICT service exports being inflated through tax schemes. Source: BCG analysis, OECD, EF, Akamai, EVCA, Global Innovation Index (Cornell University, INSEAD and WIPO) Exhibit 3 | The Digital Frontrunners and EU Big 5
  13. 13. The Boston Consulting Group | 11 pete in the common digital marketplace. The more a country relies on exports, the more important these factors become. The Internet economy of digi- tal frontrunners made up 8% of GDP in 2014 – 57% more than EU Big 5. The amount of venture capital invested in the countries as a share of GDP is seen as an indi- cator of how much financial support there is for new and innovative companies. At 0.4 percent, the digital frontrunners average dou- ble the VC investment share of GDP of the EU Big 5, whose average amounts to 0.2 per- cent. The story is similar when it comes to English proficiency, which can be assumed to make the workforce better suited for an inter- national market. The digital frontrunners score on average 18 percent higher than EU Big 5 countries (excluding the UK) at English proficiency, further increasing their competi- tiveness in an open digital market. Digitization as an Economy Driver If we look at the European digital front­ runners as an aggregated economy, we see that the Internet sector – a theoretical “Inter- net economy” or e-GDP – made up 8 percent of GDP in 2014. This is considerably more than for the EU Big 5 countries, whose aggre- gated e-GDP share of GDP was 5.1 percent in the same year – a difference of 57 percent. It is important to note that these e-GDP shares form integral parts of the economies, in other words, digital does not constitute an isolated economic sector. The e-GDP share of GDP can theoretically approach 100 percent as more economic activities are conducted online. Big 5 countries are driven to a great extent by the UK, which is a leader in e-Commerce – con- siderably boosting its own and the Big 5’s ag- gregate e-GDP. Moreover, looking at individu- al countries, the digital frontrunners consistently outperform the Big 5 countries in terms of e-GDP share of GDP. This means that the digital frontrunners’ economies are driven to a greater extent by economic activi- ties related to the Internet and ICT. To under- stand the reasons behind the differences be- tween groups, we need to dig deeper into the components of the e-GDP figures. e-GDP share of GDP (%) 6.5 9.0 10.0 5.1 6.7 8.0 3.7 5.6 6.5 Digital Frontrunners EU Big 5 Digital Frontrunners (excl. Ireland) 5.1 8.4 4.7 5.2 6.8 7.6 8.2 8.2 22.8* 2.5 8.0 5.0 5.1 3.1 e-GDP share of GDP (%) CAGR 2014–2020 (%) CAGR 2010-2014 (%) 9.8 -1.7 9.3 8.2 10.4 8.8 1.3 9.5 13.2 7.6 10.1 20.6 3.3 1.3 7.3 8.4 11.0 12.3 5.6 7.7 9.6 7.2 6.1 9.3 E-GDP overview Country e-GDP breakdown 2014 8.0 7.6 10.9 8.2 Digital Frontrunners EU Big 5 Note: *Ireland’s ICT exports are contributing to the country’s high e-GDP share and these exports have been adjusted downward to account for this. The figures without Ireland are presented for comparison. In the estimates, average exchange rate for the period 2010-2015 have been used to avoid distortions affecting countries to varying degrees. CAGR, i.e yearly growth figures, are based on absolute market size. Source: BCG Analysis, Gartner, Ovum, EIU, Euromonitor, UN, IDC, WTO Exhibit 4 | E-GDP Comparison Between the Digital Frontrunners and the EU Big 5
  14. 14. 12 | Digitizing Europe We note that e-GDP is essentially consump- tion-driven both for digital frontrunners and EU Big 5 countries (Exhibit 5). An important difference, when you consider the digital frontrunners and the EU Big 5 group as ag- gregates, is that, whereas net ICT exports are positive for digital frontrunners, they are neg- ative for the EU Big 5. Positive net exports mean that the digital frontrunners export more ICT goods and services than they im- port. The trade with ICT goods and services thus contributes to the countries’ GDP figures (and consequently their e-GDP figures). The opposite can be said for EU Big 5 countries, where the ICT trade deficit reduces the over- all GDP and e-GDP figures. However, the Big 5 countries are showing an increase of ICT exports – reducing the ICT net export deficit from 1 percent in 2010 to 0.6 percent in 2014, with an expected continuing decline that will drive the deficit down to 0.3 percent by 2020. When it comes to private sector ICT invest- ments in the digital frontrunner economies, they show relatively slow growth at 2 percent per year in absolute monetary terms. But giv- en that the forecasted GDP growth is higher, at 3.7 percent in nominal terms for the digital frontrunner cluster, the net effect is a de- creasing investment share of GDP over time. The situation is very similar in the EU Big 5 countries. If private ICT investments are somewhat lag- ging behind, the situation is even worse for government ICT investments. They actually show average negative growth in absolute terms both for the digital frontrunner coun- tries and the EU Big 5 countries. This means that government ICT investments would not even keep up if the economy as a whole were at a standstill. This is not consistent with an ambition to embrace and promote the devel- opment of the e-economy. A government should instead lead by example to drive the development of digitization. Given the cur- rent figures, there is clearly room to increase ICT investments for governments and the pri- vate sector alike. When discussing e-GDP figures, keep in mind what the digital frontrunners’ combined 8 Digital frontrunners EU Big 5 10 5 0 6.5 (169) 1.0 2010 1.6 0.7 6.3 2014 8.0 (230) 1.0 2.9 GDP ($billions) (%) 1.4 1.5 0.9 4.2 2020 10.0 (357) 1.7 1.4 Consumption Net exportsInvestmentGovernment spend 5 10 0 0.9 3.7 (419) 3.5 1.4 2.4 0.8 2010 2014 1,3 GDP ($billions) (%) 6.5 (1018) 5.1 (635) 1,4 4.9 2020 0.6 CAGR (%) 2010–14 2014–20 12.9 10.7 1.6 -0.2-1.9 11.0 2.1 8.0 7.6 7.0 CAGR (%) 2010–14 2014–20 12.8 9.6 2.7 -0.2-2.0 -8.7* 2.2 -8.9* 10.9 8.2 -1.0 -0.6 -0.3 Total *Negative trade deficit decreasing in size Note: CAGR figures are related to changes in absolute monetary terms. Irish ICT service exports have been adjusted due to tax schemes inflating ICT service exports. Digital frontrunners aggregate exclude Luxembourg and Estonia. Source: BCG analysis Exhibit 5 | E-GDP Comparison of Digital Frontrunners and EU Big 5
  15. 15. The Boston Consulting Group | 13 percent e-GDP share of GDP really means. To put it into perspective, the Internet economy is larger than the non-digital portions of the construction, transportation, education, and real estate sectors. It does constitute a consid- erable part of the whole economy, however, given that the e-economy does not take share away from the other sectors of the economy, but rather becomes an integrated part of them, there is obviously significant room for further e-economy growth, both in absolute terms and as a share of GDP. In other words, even in the more advanced frontrunner nations, the process of digitizing the economy is at an early stage; there is po- tential to increase the scale of digitization tenfold without reaching a fully digitized economy. 2014 and 2020 sector share of GDP (%) 100 80 60 40 20 0 5.3 5.1 34.6 13.5 11.6 7.1 5.1 8.7 4.7 4.7 10.0 2014 35.6 13.8 11.9 7.3 5.2 8.7 4.8 4.8 8.0 2020 2020 Share of GDP (%) 7.1 4.5 12.6 11.3 15.9 4.9 2014 11.1 4.9 7.1 4.4 5.3 6.5 33.2 32.6 15.7 12.5 Others Retail Manufact. and Agriculture Real estate Education Health services Transportation & storage Construction E-GDP Digital Front- runners EU Big 5 Note: Sector shares of GDP are based on gross value added data which may differ from expenditure share of GDP. 2014 data used where available, otherwise most recent data. Retail category comprises retail, wholesale and accommodation and food services. All sectors have been scaled equally to accommodate e-GDP share. Source: OECD, UN, The World Bank, BCG Analysis Exhibit 6 | The Economic Importance of the Internet
  16. 16. 14 | Digitizing Europe THE DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY We define digitization in this report as the broad adoption of digital technology in homes, businesses, and the society as a whole. In order for a country to take advantage of emerging technologies and the GDP growth and jobs they bring, it must be highly digi- tized. The benefits of digitization include new jobs in emerging technology-intensive businesses and a higher standard of living/ GDP per capita. This is due to jobs moving to- ward more productive sectors, a private sec- tor that is shifting toward services and tech- nology-intensive businesses that have a higher growth rate boosting the growth of the entire economy, and an increased productivi- ty in traditional businesses, especially for SMEs. Furthermore, a highly digitized country will be ready and able to compete in the new and redefined markets emerging from technologi- cal development. To be ready for the future, business leaders and governments must con- tinually invest in digital technologies so that their companies and countries are ready to digitize swiftly and intelligently. Digital represents one of few achievable pockets of growth for Europe in the near and midterm future, but the window of opportu- nity could close quickly should the Continent fail to digitize at sufficient speed or in a frag- mented manner, leaving Europe vulnerable to increasing competition from Asia and the U.S. Digitizing is no longer a choice, it is an imperative. Toward a Digitized European Market The European single market was built over several decades as EU member states sought to harmonize legislation, policies, and regula- tions in their countries. Through this work, Europe has become a highly developed and competitive region where people, goods, and services can move freely across the continent. As European markets have grown increasing- ly digital, certain obstacles to trade in the dig- ital marketplace have become more promi- nent. Because the Internet enables businesses and consumers to transcend geo- graphical distance, distribution costs and var- ied and complex regulations for example for payments or taxes such as VAT can become obstacles. The net result is that the vast ma- jority of European digital commerce is still domestic – only 15 percent of European con- sumers shop online from EU countries other than their own. The environment of small domestic markets in the digital frontrunner countries limits new businesses that are trying to grow quick- ly. The frontrunner nations have an average
  17. 17. The Boston Consulting Group | 15 population of only 6.8 million, compared with an average of 63.6 million people for the EU Big 5 nations. Businesses in these smaller nations tend to encounter the difficulties of an international expansion early on. DSM, or Digital Single Market, is a strategy put forth by the European Commission in 2015 (see Exhibit 7). It aims to strengthen the European economy by removing obstacles to commerce within the EU in order to create a large overarching digital market where busi- nesses can act across all European nations without having to adapt to too many differ- ent sets of individual country rules. This is in many ways a natural evolution of the original plan for the European single market that has been an integral part of the EU project. Removing the obstacles to a true digital sin- gle market in Europe has the potential to in- crease economic activity and productivity sig- nificantly. This, in turn, can lead to an increase in employment and prosperity in Eu- rope. Economic activity increases because it is easier for consumers and businesses to find one another in a larger and more transparent market. Increased competition puts pressure on prices and promotes specialization. This drives productivity, one of the most import- ant factors in sustainable growth. The larger market will also serve as a fertile ground for digital innovation. Valuing the Digital Opportunity When assessing the potential value of digiti- zation for nations, we consider two main con- tributors to GDP growth and new jobs. First, we consider the impact of a digitized single market in the EU and, second, we study the value for nations of further digitization if they have managed to capture a number of emerging digital markets, including the Inter- net of Things, advanced robotics, and big data analytics. For the purposes of our analysis of the oppor- tunity at the Europe level, we use the eco- nomic impact of the implementation of the DSM plan as a form of proxy for the digitiza- tion of the European economy. We note that the economic impact of full digitization across Europe is likely to be far greater than what would be delivered by implementation of the DSM itself. The potential impact from a fully implement- ed DSM has been estimated by Cambridge Econometrics – using the E3ME model – to be worth €415 billion in annual GDP for the EU nations. This would be driven by higher ENVIRONMENT • Propose a European ‘free flow of data’ initiative • Define priorities for standards and interoperability • Support an inclusive digital society "A European strategy aimed at creating a single European digital market, enabling companies to act freely on a large market without obstacles and creating a more attractive startup landscape by providing a larger initial market…." (European Commission) ACCESS • Create rules to make cross-border e-commerce easier • Enforce consumer rules • Make delivery more efficient and affordable • End unjustified geo-blocking • Launch an antitrust inquiry into e-commerce • Create a modern, more European copyright framework • Review the Satellite and Cable Directive • Reduce VAT burdens ECONOMY AND SOCIETY • Overhaul telecom rules • Review audiovisual media framework for 21st century • Comprehensively analyze the role of online platforms • Reinforce trust and security in digital services • Propose a partnership with industry on cyber security One vision Supported by three pillars Made up of 16 initiatives Source: European Commission Exhibit 7 | The Digital Single Market Strategy
  18. 18. 16 | Digitizing Europe economic activity and increased productivity. A significant part of this GDP increase is like- ly to happen in the digital frontrunner na- tions for two reasons. First, these nations are already highly export-focused, thus increased trade will have a positive effect on exporting businesses. Secondly, the frontrunner nations have a relatively strong digital footprint, mak- ing them better prepared to benefit from dig- ital cross-border commerce. A fully implemented DSM combined with fur- ther digitization efforts could boost the front- runner nations’ GDP growth rate by 80 per- cent until 2020, placing these countries among the fastest-growing economies in the world Our analysis suggests that a fully implement- ed DSM could boost the frontrunner nations’ growth by nearly 40 percent until 2020. This would be double the increase in the growth rate of EU Big 5 countries which is less than 20 percent for the same period (see Exhibit 8). These numbers show the importance of getting the DSM in place, a feat which re- quires the digital frontrunners to cooperate with each other. Worth noting is that the nearly 40 percent increase in growth rate is achievable without significant investments by the public sector. The increases will be driven by market forces. Apart from a digital single market, signifi- cant value could also be created from emerg- ing new industries which are driving digitiza- tion. Big data analytics, the Internet of Things, advanced robotics, and virtual/aug- mented reality are some examples (see Ex- hibit 9). As these are expected to constitute 11,500 11,000 10,500 10,000 0 GDP ( billions) +18% yoy growth, from 1.9 to 2.25% p.a. 2020 231 billion EU Big 5 Digital frontrunners Fully functioning Digital Single MarketBusiness as usual 2,600 2,400 2,200 0 GDP ( billions) +38% yoy growth, from 2.25 to 3.1% p.a. 2020 129 billion The EU Big 5 nations see a ~18% increase in growth on average which amounts to a 0.35 pp. higher growth rate on average. These nations see a ~38% increase in growth on average which amounts to a 0.85 pp. higher growth rate on average. Source: BCG analysis, Eurostat, OECD, World bank Exhibit 8 | The Digital Single Market Shows Large Potential for Growth Augmented/virtual reality 2020 global market value1 : ~ 1.5 billion Advanced robotics 2020 global market value1 : ~ 80 billion Internet of Things 2020 global market value1: ~ 1,900 billion Big data analytics 2020 global market value1: ~ 300 billion 1. Estimates based on several sources, IDC, Gartner, Markets & Markets, IBM Source: BCG analysis, World bank, Eurostat, IDC, Gartner, Markets & Markets, IBM Exhibit 9 | Emerging Global Technology Markets
  19. 19. The Boston Consulting Group | 17 the main drivers of value, we restrict our- selves to them in this analysis, while ac- knowledging that other areas (see Exhibit 1) will add still further value. Aggregated, the four considered technologies alone have an estimated global market value in excess of €2 trillion by 2020. On a national level, the contribution to GDP from such upcoming digitization-dependent high-tech markets could be important if the frontrunners are able to take a share of these markets equal to their share of the gross world product. We have found that by in- creasing the rate of digitization and creating an attractive environment for entrepreneurs, the frontrunner nations have the opportunity to boost their growth rate by another 40 per- cent (see Exhibit 10). If done right, these two efforts combined could potentially put the digital frontrunners among the fastest growing economies in the world. For the digital frontrunners it would add approximately €260 billion to their com- bined GDP in 2020. For the period from the present to 2020, the total GDP addition would be around €700 billion. Impact on jobs These two effects – or two cumulative waves of digitization – on GDP will potentially pro- vide an increase in employment levels. To ful- ly realize this potential, the digitization ef- forts must help match the skills of the workforce to the skills required by the jobs that will emerge from new technologies. If this is not done properly, or if it is over- looked, a country’s workforce may be left be- hind and become unable to provide the labor and competence that a digitized economy de- mands. The net effect on jobs of the DSM and world- class level of digitization in the frontrunner nations could reach 2.3 million jobs. The digitization of markets and societies is a significant systemic change to economies around the world. New jobs and businesses will appear and some existing ones will dis- appear over time. This is a familiar mecha- nism in all major periods of change. We estimate that the net effect of rapid digiti- zation, or the difference between jobs gained from digitization and jobs lost from increased productivity, in the digital frontrunner na- tions can be as much as 1.6 million to 2.3 mil- lion (see Exhibit 11) or between 5.3 percent and 7.7 percent of the total workforce. Many of these jobs will likely emerge in small and innovative businesses, but as long as more traditional companies keep up in their digitization efforts they will likely see growth as well. The net creation of jobs from a digital Potential for the frontrunner group 2 500 2 000 1 500 3 000 +80% yoy growth, from 2.2 to 3.9% p.a. 2020 264 billion GDP (B EUR) Fully functioning Digital Single Market ~3.1% CAGR Business as usual ~2.2% CAGR Full DSM and world class digitization ~3.9% CAGR Increased GDP CAGR per frontrunner country Denmark The Netherlands Sweden Finland Belgium Estonia Luxemburg Ireland Frontrunner Growth increase 83% 94% 106% 42% 96% 63% 160% 46% Potential GDP CAGR 3.3% 4.3% 3.2% 3.9% 1.8% 4.1% 7.9% 6% GDP CAGR '14-'20 1.8% 2.2% 1.6% 2.8% 0.9% 2.5% 3.1% 4.1% Frontrunners total 2.2% 80% 3.9% 2020 GDP ( billions) 26.6 97.3 45.0 35.5 11.3 2.2 18.8 27.2 264.0 Note: CAGR = Compound annual growth rate Source: BCG analysis, World bank, Eurostat, OECD Exhibit 10 | Digital Single Market and World-Class Digitization: Potential for Economic Growth
  20. 20. 18 | Digitizing Europe single market and the emerging digital indus- tries such as IoT and advanced robotics is go- ing to be affected by how this transition is handled by governments and societies. Either governments look ahead and make efforts to prepare their workforces for the future, or they try to stop the changes from happening to avoid falling far behind others who are em- bracing the trends. Employed 2015 Employed 2020 1.9M 1.8M 1 2 3 4 Effects on employment in the digital Frontrunner nations Net effects of digitization and DSM Net work-force increase • Not in scope for this analysis Jobs lost due to increased productivity • Increased productivity and automation will in some businesses lead to lower demand for workers and remove 1.4-2.1 million jobs New jobs due to DSM • Higher growth due to DSM is expected to create jobs in many sectors – potential for 1.8 million new jobs New jobs due to growth in businesses emerging in digital markets • Emerging technologies and increased activity in existing ones may, if properly leveraged, create 1.9 million jobs Positive net effect on employment • Net effect, i.e. the difference between new and lost jobs, estimated to 1.6-2.3 million jobs corresponding to 5.3-7.7% of workforce 1 2 3 4 (1.6M - 2.3M) (5.3% – 7.7%) (1.4M - 2.1M) 5 5 150 – 210K 660 – 920K 275 – 385K 210 – 300K 80 – 105K 40 – 60K 80 – 120K 130 – 190K Source: BCG analysis, Eurostat, OECD, CIA world fact book Exhibit 11 | Effects on Employment in the Frontrunner Nations
  21. 21. The Boston Consulting Group | 19 THE CASE FOR URGENT ACTION Global markets are becoming digital at a fast pace. In the race for competitive- ness, the consequences of not adapting to change can be harsh. European companies risk falling behind competitors from outside Europe both in global and home markets. This, in turn, will mean lower GDP growth and lost jobs in Europe when innovation, capi- tal, talent, and companies are concentrated elsewhere. How the EU and its member states choose to address the digitization challenge in a globalizing world will decide how their economies develop in the long term. Three scenarios that describe possible paths a nation can take in the near future are shown here (see Exhibit 12). These scenarios provide vivid and concrete reasons to take ac- tion and start preparing a nation’s economy for the digital era. The difference between an ambitious digital agenda – the “bright future” scenario – and a “business as usual” scenario, or worse still, the “the complacency trap” are significant in terms of GDP growth and job creation. The “bright future” or “tag along” scenarios will not be achieved by default, but require varying degrees of ambition and ef- fort. With its current level of effort, Europe is clearly not heading toward the bright future and the window of opportunity is closing fast. To be successful in the long run in an increas- ingly digital and global environment, tradi- tional industries have to embrace digitization. Successful companies also must be prepared to scale up to meet the demand of the larger, more open, market on the horizon. Govern- ments need to embrace digital in a similar fashion. To successfully meet the future we need leaders with a clear mandate. This is not the case in most European countries today. In order to succeed in transforming nations, there must be a functioning ecosystem where all concerned stakeholders can collaborate. This includes the government with institutions such as health care and education as well as the private sector with both multinational companies and SMEs. European countries are doing this to varying degrees, but there is room for improvement across the board. Member states should not wait for EU-level policies to be fully in place, but rather make digitization a national priority and work to- gether with other countries with similar goals. Such initiatives can function as engines for change on a regional level. Today, for the frontrunner countries, the pic- ture at the national level is mixed. The 2016 BCG e-Intensity index reveals that each of the countries has areas of relative strength, and that they all lack a comprehensive strategic framework and strength across all key mea- sures. For instance, the Netherlands is ranked as number one when it comes to engagement (in other words, to what degree businesses, consumers, and governments are embracing
  22. 22. 20 | Digitizing Europe the Internet) but is positioned near the bot- tom of frontrunners in enablement (covering Internet infrastructure and access). Denmark, on the other hand, ranks reasonably well in enablement, but last among frontrunners in engagement. Norway is an example of a country that fares reasonably well across met- rics, with the exception of government en- gagement where it falls behind many other countries. The other frontrunners show vary- ing performance across the e-Intensity met- rics cementing the impression of a group of countries that could learn from one another. Along with governments, successful compa- nies need to make digital an integral part of their entire value chains and something that drives their competitive advantage. In this way, they can actually spur national digitiza- tion. European companies in general should work to become known for and associated with efficient operations enabled by digitiza- tion. It is not enough to invest in IT equip- ment, there must be results. Should any of the components in a nation’s ecosystem fail to adapt to a rapidly digitizing world, the entire nation risks falling behind global leaders, resulting in slow economic growth and a fewer new jobs. Many compa- nies have disappeared in the past as a result of failure to adapt to an evolving world. Although countries are more diverse and generally more resilient than individual companies, they still cannot afford to ignore the major shifts in the environment in which they operate. Need to Re-Focus Europe’s Digital Agenda Europe’s digital agenda forms a vital part of the policy framework underpinning trade for the frontrunner countries. There are indeed many concrete obstacles to digitization and export-fueled growth that could be best ad- dressed by action at the EU level. It’s in this context that the frontrunners need to focus on the EU’s digital agenda and ensure that Europe’s markets are opened rapidly. On a positive note, the EU Commission ranks the DSM as one of its top priorities. The DSM plan itself is, however, very broad, covering a wide scope of regulatory measures, and will take many years to implement. It has also been observed that some govern- ments and stakeholders take a more pessimis- tic view of the impact of digital in Europe. This dynamic creates a real opportunity for the frontrunners to bring their insights and experience, as well as optimism, to Europe’s digital debate. In addition to changing the mood in Europe around the digital opportunity, the frontrun- ners should focus the implementation of the DSM plan in areas that are likely to make the "The bright future" (3-6% Growth) • Countries drive DSM and act as Front- runners • Each country maximizes it's own digitization processes • World-class digitization allow for maximum benefit from European single market "The complacency trap" (0-1% Growth) "We tag along" (1-3% Growth) Level of digital success Labor market flexibility • Top-of-the-line education keeps workforce skilled and able to thrive in the digital era • Successful job-matching and enabling of national/international transfer • Implementation of a DSM ongoing, but implementation takes time due to political complexity and lack of effort • Continued digitization drives growth, but other countries develop faster • Education not quite keeping up, leaving some people behind • Job-matching and transfer sub par • Labor regulations and unions not aligned with national IT strategy • Digitization slows down, causing relative productivity losses • Export-dependent countries losing, increasingly unable to compete on price • Ultimately resulting in sub-par growth • Rise in unemployment due to inflexibility in labor regulation, poor education, and lack of mobility Scenario Source: BCG analysis Exhibit 12 | Three Scenarios Describing the Potential Outcome of Adequate or Inadequate Action
  23. 23. The Boston Consulting Group | 21 biggest difference for their own economic prospects such as: •• Removing practical obstacles to exports within the EU, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses (simplifying VAT rules, making parcel delivery work better, making cross-border payments easier) •• Creating an environment for the develop- ment, launch, and growth of innovative new technologies and business models, supported by a smart policy framework In seeking to shape the EU agenda, the front- runners could also build a wider coalition be- yond the core countries identified in this re- port. The Rapid Rise of Asian Digital Tiger Economies Competition in the digital era is becoming more global as technology enables companies to do business across countries to an increas- ing extent. For long-term competitiveness in this emerging digital landscape, it is not suffi- cient for European companies to compete on a Europe level – they need to compete global- ly, not only to gain global market share, but also to retain market share in their home markets which are being entered by multina- tionals from all over the world. Widening the perspective beyond Europe rais- es some concerns for the digital frontrunners. The evolution of the Internet’s contribution to the economy of the digital frontrunners and EU Big 5 compared with China and the U.S., introduces the question of whether digital frontrunners will maintain their lead over time (see Exhibit 13). The e-GDP figures for 2014 are 4.7 percent and 6.3 percent for China and the U.S. respectively. This is well below the digital frontrunners. However, if we follow the current trajectory and look a few years ahead, the gap with China will be nearly erad- icated by 2020. In fact, China is projected to overtake several of the individual digital frontrunners by then. China’s rapid growth shows that the business-as-usual scenario clearly will not be enough to maintain a lead- ing position over time. This will put pressure on European companies because as they face more competitive companies from outside Eu- rope they will likely lose a portion of their business, ultimately putting European growth and jobs at risk. By 2025, all frontrunners will have been overtaken by China and Taiwan. This could lead to investments, talent, and innovation moving east. The growth of China’s Internet economy is driven by a rapid expansion of e-commerce as seen in the recent BCG report The New China Playbook from 2015. E-commerce as a share of private consumption has grown from 3 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2015. De- spite a slowing Chinese economy, it is predict- ed to grow to 24 percent by 2020. Another in- teresting finding is that consumers in China will buy more from other countries in the fu- ture – by 2020, 15 percent of Chinese e-Com- merce will be cross-border. This can be seen as an opportunity to reach the Chinese con- sumer for competitive firms outside China. This sense of urgency for action is underlined by the non-economic factors covered by the BCG e-Intensity index. (See exhibit 14). When looking at how countries outside Europe are performing and how they are projected to be ranked by 2020, we see Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, and Singapore climbing quickly and overtaking the digital frontrun- ners one after the other – following its cur- rent growth trajectory, China will even be in the lead by 2020. In fact, there are currently two Asian countries in the e-Intensity top ten, by 2025, that number is likely to grow to five or six By then, all of the European digital frontrunners will be behind China, South Ko- rea, Singapore, and Taiwan. This is a strong trend and the digital frontrunners, and in- deed European countries in general, cannot afford to ignore it. The rise of digitized na- tions in Asia could in time lead to invest- ments, talent, and innovation moving east, hurting European competitiveness, growth, and job markets.
  24. 24. 22 | Digitizing Europe The development we see in rapidly advanc- ing Asian countries is not happening by chance. Asian countries are putting consider- able effort into stimulating innovation and translating this into tangible results. Many best-practice examples can be found in Asian countries. For instance, Singapore drives digitization in private and public sectors through a single board which is run like a business with yearly reports and business plans. Another example is South Korea betting on 5G to become core of its future growth through public-private partnering, along with government funding and special support for startups and SMEs with the goal of increasing SME participation in 5G research by 40 percent. For the digital frontrunners, future projec- tions show that this is not the time to relax. Instead, they should do everything they can to capitalize on their advantageous starting position going forward. With prompt and de- termined action, current detrimental trends can be altered. Countries should not be afraid to learn from best practices from all around the world. Threats to Digitally Powered Trade The rise of Asian countries as digital leaders can shift the center of gravity of the digital world to the south and east. The recently con- cluded Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agree- ment that includes the U.S., Japan, Singapore, and Australia is likely to accelerate this pro- cess, drawing increasing investment and pro- duction to the Asian region, and over time, af- fecting the competitiveness and productivity of European companies on the global stage. Securing favorable access to Asian and other global markets is imperative for the health of the European economy. A robust framework of trade agreements capitalizing on the strengths of European industry presents an opportunity. For the frontrunner countries, fa- cilitating flows of data and supporting digital- ly enabled business models needs to be a key element of such trade deals. The reality today is that the regulatory and trade framework globally, and in Asia in par- ticular, underpinning such business models is not robust. Regulatory requirements covering 10.0 4.7 6.3 5.1 8.0 3.0 5.2 3.7 6.5 9.2 7.7 6.5 e-GDP share of GDP (%) China U.S. EU Big 5 Digital Frontrunners E-GDP overview 4.7 5.2 6.8 6.3 5.0 5.1 3.1 2.5 8.4 5.1 7.6 8.2 8.2 22.8 8.0 4.7 E-GDP share of GDP (%) 9.8 -1.7 9.3 8.2 10.4 8.8 1.3 9.5 13.2 7.6 10.1 20.6 3.3 1.3 7.3 8.4 11.0 12.3 5.6 7.7 9.6 7.2 6.1 9.3 Country e-GDP breakdown 2014 8.0 7.6 10.9 8.2 Digital Frontrunners EU Big 5 8.9 23.9 7.6 20.7 CAGR 2014–2020 (%) CAGR 2010-2014 (%) Note: *Ireland’s ICT exports are contributing to the country’s high e-GDP share and these exports have been adjusted downward to account for this. Irish ICT services exports have been adjusted downward. In the estimates, average exchange rate for period 2010-2015 has been used to avoid distortions affecting countries to varying degrees. CAGR figures are based on absolute market size. Source: BCG Analysis, Gartner, Ovum, EIU, Euromonitor, UN, IDC, WTO Exhibit 13 | E-GDP, China Is Catching Up
  25. 25. The Boston Consulting Group | 23 hosting data locally, which is an example of a commonly applied approach, can significant- ly increase costs for overseas business. A good example of the importance of digital trade is the EU-U.S. trade relationship. As it is very connected to the free flow of data, the entire industry of Digitally Deliverable Ser- vices, such as ICT consulting, financial ser- vices, and engineering and design, is almost entirely dependent on this relationship, which represents a value of more than €100 billion. Globally 25 percent of the total EU ex- ports consist of digitally deliverable services, equal to 5 percent of the EU GDP, or €600 bil- lion. This is however still a gross understatement of the importance of the free flow of data. In addition, Digitally Deliverable Services are of- ten involved in the production of other ser- vices or goods, which in turn, may be export- ed. In today’s markets, value chains are increasingly complex and the inputs to the production of services have bounced back and forth across borders several times before becoming a final service product. These ser- vices could truly be said to be global. The fact remains that we are only talking about services that are digitally deliverable. If all the trade that is underpinned by digital communications and data transfers were to be included, the numbers would be larger still. It is also important to remember that for the countries we are focusing on in this re- port, the digital frontrunners, the value of free data flows is greater than the EU average due to their higher dependency on exports, including DDS. These two things result in significant values at stake should the free flow of data be dis- rupted. One possible example of a disruption in this data flow would be the failure of the Safe Harbor system, which could potentially be replaced by the Privacy Shield which is currently being discussed in the EU. The im- plementation of a working data transfer agreement is crucial for EU-U.S. trade and should be considered a top priority for EU member states which are dependent on trade for their prosperity. An agreement needs to become solid and comprehensive enough to withstand scrutiny by the European courts in order to achieve stability for the companies trading across the Atlantic. 46. China 20162011 2020 2025 1 South Korea 2 UK 3 Sweden 4 Denmark 5 Norway 6 Netherlands 7 Finland 8 Japan 9 USA 10 Iceland 11 Estonia 12 Australia 13 France 14 Switzerland 15 Germany 16 Taiwan 17 Canada 18 Czech Republic 19 Hong Kong 20 Belgium 21 Singapore 22 Austria 23 New Zealand 24 Ireland 25 Israel 1 South Korea 2 UK 3 Norway 4 Denmark 5 Netherlands 6 Finland 7 Japan 8 USA 9 Sweden 10 Iceland 11 Taiwan 12 Australia 13 Estonia 14 Singapore 15 Ireland 16 Switzerland 17 Hong Kong 18 Germany 19 Belgium 20 China 21 France 22 Canada 23 New Zealand 24 Czech Republic 25 UAE 1 China 2 South Korea 3 UK 4 Finland 5 USA 6 Netherlands 7 Japan 8 Denmark 9 Singapore 10 Taiwan 11 Norway 12 Sweden 13 Estonia 14 Iceland 15 Australia 16 Hong Kong 17 Switzerland 18 Belgium 19 Ireland 20 UAE 21 Germany 22 New Zealand 23 Canada 24 Israel 25 Czech Republic 1 China 2 South Korea 3 UK 4 Singapore 5 USA 6 Taiwan 7 Finland 8 UAE 9 Estonia 10 Netherlands 11 Japan 12 Hong Kong 13 Belgium 14 Switzerland 15 Australia 16 Iceland 17 Denmark 18 Ireland 19 Norway 20 New Zealand 21 Israel 22 Sweden 23 Lithuania 24 Germany 25 Cyprus Note: 2020 and 2025 rankings are based on extrapolating 2011-2016 data. Luxembourg is not included in BCG e-Intensity Index. Source: BCG analysis, BCG e-intensity index Exhibit 14 | Asian Countries Climbing in E-Intensity Rankings – On Track to Overtake Digital Front-Runners by 2025
  26. 26. 24 | Digitizing Europe If the EU and the U.S. fail to get a functioning framework in place, the current period of un- certainty will be cemented, negatively affect- ing transatlantic trade. The impact of a full disruption of the former Safe Harbor system has been described at a high level in Exhibit 16. The potential impact of disruptions is significant – the EU risks see- ing its GDP lowered by 1 percent and losing 2.4 million jobs, with exporting businesses likely to be the hardest hit. For the digital frontrunner nations, which are small and dependent on exports and trade, the effect of a theoretical collapse of transat- lantic data transfers is greater still. A hit to the GDP in excess of 1 percent, approximate- ly €23 billion, and a loss of over 380,000 jobs would be likely to occur with even a relative- ly minor disturbance. The global trade framework provides an op- portunity for frontrunner countries to shape the development of digital services and on- EUU.S. 112 billion 530 billion (22% of total EU exports) (3.8% of EU GDP) 456 billion (32% of total exports) Rest of World 69 billion (2.8% of total exports) (0.5% of EU GDP) @ Note: Export numbers include value of digitally deliverable services used as input to exported services and goods, data from 2012, FX-rate EUR/USD = 1.25 Source: BCG analysis, Brookings institute Exhibit 15 | EU Digitally Deliverable Service Exports (approximately 11 percent of GDP) Forces at play... ...we see two scenarios Scenario B effects on EU nations Scenario A Transatlantic data transfer continues to be possible without major regulatory barriers, either through a ”privacy shield" or other regulatory structures Scenario B Stakeholders fail to agree on a new regulatory framework. This seriously affects companies dependent on transatlantic data transfer Immediate effects on EU nations Complex side effects and long- term effects on EU nations • Can threaten the completion and initiation of the TTIP agreement1 • Can seriously hurt European SMEs ability to grow and compete on a global level Privacy & personal integrity Concerns about privacy and personal integrity have caused some European stakeholders to use the EU-level judicial system to ban transatlantic transfer of personal data Trade and economic development Advocates of economic development underline the importance of transatlantic data transfer to U.S.-EU trade. "Privacy shield" has been presented but not yet realized Effect on EU GDP Effect on EU jobs Will likely lower EU GDP by ~1% Likely to threaten 2.4 million jobs 1.Swedish national board of trade Source: BCG analysis, Swedish national board of trade Exhibit 16 | Transatlantic Data Transfer, Cause and Effect
  27. 27. The Boston Consulting Group | 25 line commerce around the world. Moving quickly will allow the frontrunners and Eu- rope as a whole to work from a position of strength. Immediate opportunities exist in mapping and drawing attention to the barri- ers to digital trade around the world, develop- ing and promoting principles to underpin re- form of trade frameworks, and systematically updating the global trade framework to match the realities of the digital marketplace.
  28. 28. 26 | Digitizing Europe WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE The European digital frontrunners have a key role to play and a responsibili- ty to act as Europe’s engine to drive a more ambitious strategic dialogue at the highest political and policy levels to make the digital transition happen at a sufficiently fast pace for Europe to remain competitive in a rapidly digitizing world. Frontrunner actions at the EU level. Digital frontrunners must bring their insights and experience, as well as optimism, to bear to reshape Europe’s digital debate. They can bring a much greater focus to the policy issues that are likely to have the greatest impact for businesses across the region, such as removing practical obstacles to cross-border commerce within the EU, particularly for SMEs. Frontrunner actions at the global level. Digital frontrunners have the chance to shape the development of digital services and online commerce around the world. Immedi- ate opportunities exist for mapping and drawing attention to the barriers to digital trade as well as developing and promoting reform and then systematically updating trade frameworks by supporting cross-border information and opposing data localization requirements. This will protect online services and products from discrimination to allow flexibility within the scope of trade agreements. Frontrunners acting together. Alone, each of the frontrunners will have limited influence in promoting the pioneering initiatives necessary to achieve a digitized EU economy. But by joining together, they may have a pivotal impact and keep the continent competitive in the digital era now and in the future. This cooperation must work at both political and policy levels – prime ministers must take the lead and kick off a new era of cooperation. Their participation is essential for achieving the broad and deep changes required for true digitization success and to communicate their strong commitment to the execution of the digital agenda. At stake for the digital frontrunners are 1.6 million to 2.3 million jobs, net, and an 80 percent increase of yearly GDP growth rate. They will only be able to reap the re- wards of increases in demand and competi- tion if they form a true digitized single mar- ket where they can make the most of the competitive edge that they have today. For inspiration, there are many relevant mod- els to consider of how this cooperation works in practice. Similar steps were taken, for ex- ample by the Digital-5, founded by Estonia, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea, and the UK with the ambition of increasing in-house digi- tal skills and working more closely with SME suppliers. In Europe, the Northern Future Fo- rum brings together prime ministers from
  29. 29. The Boston Consulting Group | 27 several countries across the region for a high-level debate about emerging technology, business, and policy issues. Another example is the Visegrad Group, an alliance among the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slova- kia with the goal of increasing the countries’ European integration. The scope of the Viseg- rad Group is broad, but it is relevant in the context of digitization, as success in digital touches policy issues far beyond technology, including taxation, education, labor market policy, and trade. The frontrunners’ credibility and ability to serve as drivers of European digitization is based on them maintaining their position as leaders in digital, which requires ambitious national digital agendas that demonstrate global leadership in leveraging digitization and new technology to drive economic growth and job creation. These national agen- das should cover rapid digitization of busi- ness and government services and improving digital skills, and be backed by a smart policy environment in which innovative technolo- gies and business models can be developed and grown (See Appendix: A National Digital Agenda Framework for a more comprehen- sive view on national digitization priorities). We hope this report can contribute to, and en- courage, the public conversation about Eu- rope’s digital development with senior politi- cians and business leaders as well as on the roles and responsibilities of the digital front- runner countries. The pace of development we are currently seeing in Europe is not enough to ensure a global top position over time when it comes to digital economies. The digital frontrunners have the ability to lead the way to a fully digitized continent, creating millions of jobs and ensuring some European nations a place among the fastest growing economies in the world. The time to act is now, before the window of opportunity closes.
  30. 30. 28 | Digitizing Europe APPENDIX: A NATIONAL DIGITAL AGENDA FRAMEWORK To become a world-leading country for lever- aging digitization and technology to drive economic growth and job creation, you need a holistic, nationwide digital agenda, an eco- system involving the government, its institu- tions – such as health care and education – and the private sector, including both big multinational companies and SMEs. This national agenda should comprise a wide set of highly prioritized political policy initia- tives and investments to build a digital econ- omy of the future (see Exhibit 17). Five im- portant levers for success are: •• Enable digital and technology innovation •• Stimulate entrepreneurship •• Improve access to capital •• Regulate for the future •• Build the skills and talent of tomorrow Such an agenda would be the basis for an am- bitious plan for world-class digitization and ul- timately lead the nations toward a society-wide digital ecosystem in which the full potential of digital technologies can be unlocked. Enable digital and technology innovation. European nations should better support the development of innovation clusters by provid- ing a world-class digital infrastructure, con- necting startups to leading national companies and universities, and attracting leading technology multinational corporations to establish national operations through tax subsidies. The nations also have to guide and incentivize their already-established SMEs and large enterprises to fully transition into digital and mobile-first businesses. It is not enough for businesses to invest in ICT equipment, they must transform and develop the entire businesses end to end. Furthermore, there is a need to fully digitize government processes and services, and to increase usage of such services. This will boost efficiency and improve the quality of the public sectors. Making public data more easily available via e-government could encourage innovation among SMEs. Stimulate entrepreneurship. To stimulate entrepreneurship, the frontrunners should lower taxes on stock options to better incen- tivize entrepreneurship, direct public tenders and procurement toward SMEs to stimulate demand and growth, and work to strengthen the link between universities and startup communities to provide startups with talent. It is important to continue to foster a culture in which entrepreneurship is seen as a viable career option for top talent. Improve access to capital. Despite a handful of government efforts, startups and SMEs are often still struggling to raise capital for
  31. 31. The Boston Consulting Group | 29 investments. Although public funding is available, systems are complex and funds are sometimes misdirected. To address this problem, public-funding structures can be simplified, and public funding should be used for matching private investments, rather than being distributed through publicly run investment companies. A portion of pension fund investments should also be shifted toward established venture capital funds. Moreover, tax breaks on angel investments should be introduced to give startups access to early stage capital, while letting individual investors make lower-risk investments by allowing losses to be offset by income or capital gains. Furthermore, the nations should set out to attract the world’s leading venture capital funds to establish a presence in the region. Create smart policies for the future. To uphold competitiveness in a world in which continuous change and progress is central, there must be a forward-looking and proac- tive approach to creating smart policies, rather than regulation. Removing regulatory obstacles to change includes increasing labor market flexibility, simplifying legal conditions for SMEs, and promoting the sharing econo- my, as well as driving the discussion around current legislation on intellectual property and data protection to ensure that the country and region are promoting innovation and transparency to the fullest extent possi- ble. Build the skills and talent of tomorrow. To make a country’s human capital adept at facing technological development, nations should rethink the educational system. For primary and secondary school, the countries must modernize the curriculum and promote equality and integration across schools and students. Some measures have already been initiated, for instance Estonia introducing coding in the national curriculum, but much more is left to be done. Countries must differentiate and specialize tertiary educa- tion and introduce cross-disciplinary pro- grams. Furthermore, there should be nation- wide planning for the digital workforce, looking at future demand both in the private and public sectors. The frontrunners should look at their peers – Ireland, the Nether- lands, and Denmark, and launch dedicated talent-visa programs to better attract top international talent and reduce relocation barriers. To become the world’s best country at leveraging digitization and technology for economic growth and job creation Strategic priorities • Fully digitize government processes and services • Invest in IT, telecommunication, and digital infrastructure • Drive the SME transition to digital and mobile-first • Support digital and technology clusters • Attract leading technology MNCs • Set date for transition to electronic money only • Invest in IOT and big data • Harmonize ICT standards for new technologies • Tax stock options as capital gains • Steer public tenders and procurement toward SMEs and startups • Link up tertiary education and startup communities • Introduce digitization and technology vouchers for SMEs • Recognize and promote major entrepreneurial activity at the national level • Attract world-leading and regional venture capital funds (startup and growth capital) • Introduce tax breaks on angel investments • Simplify public funding structures • Use public funds for matching venture capital investments • Shift major part of pension funds' investment mix to established venture capital funds • Review IP and data protection legislation to reflect the needs of the innovative digital age • Push for a European digital single market • Promote and creatively approach the sharing economy and new business models • Increase labor market flexibility • Simplify legal conditions for SMEs and startups • Support and allow for experimentation with new technology • Rethink primary and secondary education curriculum • Promote equality and integration throughout the educational system • Differentiate tertiary education and launch cross-disciplinary programs • Launch visa programs aimed at entrepreneurs and top talent • Perform strategic workforce planning for digital at national level Aspiration Enable digital and technology innovation Stimulate entrepreneurship Improve access to capital Create smart policies for the future Build the skills and talent of tomorrow Note: SME = Small and medium-sized enterprise. MNC = multinational corporation. IP = Intellectual property. Source: BCG analysis Exhibit 17 | Prioritizing the Right Things
  32. 32. 30 | Digitizing Europe Many of these topics could be implemented on a cross-national basis, either as agreed upon best practices or with one nation taking inspiration from another. The proposed coop- eration of the frontrunners would serve as a forum for discussion of, and agreement on, these topics. Relevant topics would, for exam- ple, promote SMEs as exporters, promote cross-border visas for tech entrepreneurs, es- tablish regional innovation clusters to try new technologies in multiple countries, and share best practices for developing new skills.
  33. 33. The Boston Consulting Group | 31 APPENDIX: METHODOLOGY The methods and assumptions used through- out the report are outlined in this chapter. e-GDP E-GDP is a measure that quantifies the mone- tary value of the Internet on a country level. Comparing e-GDP with the GDP of a country yields the economic share of Internet-related activities in the country. There are numerous ways to calculate GDP. The figures in this report have been calculat- ed using the expenditure method. This method measures total spending on finished goods and services in an economy. The underlying principle is that finished goods and services are bought by someone and that, consequent- ly, the value of production (what GDP is a measure of) equals total expenditure. Our decision to use the expenditure method is based on two things. First, expenditure data is more readily available and makes cross-country comparisons easier. Secondly, the expenditure method makes it possible to distinguish among what is spent by house- holds, companies, and the government, in or- der to gain deeper insight. In the expenditure method, e-GDP is comput- ed as the sum of four components: 1. Consumption: goods and services bought online by households in a country. It also includes consumer spending on Internet access and the relevant cost of devices used to access the Internet. 2. Investment: capital investment by telecom companies and Internet-related private investment in information and communications technology (ICT). 3. Government spending: public spending on ICT infrastructure and software along with supporting services. 4. Net exports: the difference between exports and imports of ICT equipment and services. When computing these components, trusted sources available for a majority of countries have been used to allow for cross-country comparability. Such sources include Gartner, Ovum, IDC, Euromonitor, WTO, UN, OECD, and the World Bank. In addition to these sources, country-specific sources – mainly statistics services such as Statistics Sweden, Statistics Denmark, and Statistics Nether- lands – have been used for greater granulari- ty in consumption and import and export data. When computing aggregated figures for groups of countries, the included countries have been considered as a single economy. As most global sources are presented in U.S.
  34. 34. 32 | Digitizing Europe dollars, this currency has been used as cur- rency of reference throughout. In order to re- duce the influence of exchange rate fluctua- tions over time influencing some countries more than others, an average exchange rate for 2010-2015 has been used for currency conversions over the entire studied period (2010-2020). To put the e-GDP figures in perspective, we have compared e-GDP size to traditional sec- tors of the economy. These have been ob- tained by studying GVA (Gross Value Added) of different sectors in the economies of indi- vidual countries. GVA is a measure closely linked to GDP as they both measure national output (GVA does not take into account taxes and subsidies on products). BCG e-Intensity index The BCG e-Intensity index is a measure of how strongly a country has embraced the In- ternet. It is an index which is updated on a yearly basis to measure performance relative to other countries over time. The e-Intensity score is computed based on a weighted aver- age of three sub-indices: 1. Enablement: Measures presence of Internet infrastructure and how available Internet access is 2. Expenditure: Measures how great a share of consumer spending is online and how big the online share of advertising is 3. Engagement: Measures the extent to which consumers, businesses, and govern- ments embrace the Internet The weights of individual metrics can be seen in Exhibit 18, below. When it comes to the future projections of e-GDP scores, extrapolation of historic data has been used. The results have been adjust- ed for outliers. Impact of digitization and DSM on GDP and jobs When projecting GDP impact from policy shifts, new markets, and other sorts of changes, one needs to handle a large number of unknown factors. The best and most reli- able way of doing this is to use a computer model that uses as many relevant input vari- ables as possible. The E3ME model that is maintained by Cambridge Econometrics is such a model. It is often used to simulate out- comes of changes to societies and economies. In our analysis for this report we have used the output from the E3ME model simulation Enablement Engagement Expenditure • Fixed broadband subscriptions % pop (ITU) • Fibre-to-home connections % population (ITU) • Internet bandwidth per person (ITU) • Mob. broadband subscriptions % pop (Ovum) • Mobile service provider CAPEX / population (Ovum)Mobile internet Fixed internet Overall Bandwidth • % of retail spending which is online (Euromonitor) • % m-commerce of retail (Euromonitor) • % of advertising spending which is online (Magna Global) Online retail Mobile retail Online ads • B2B Internet use (WEF) • B2C Internet use (WEF) • Impact of ICT on new services & products (WEF) • % population who use the internet (ITU) • Metrics covering social media, online gaming, personal finance, etc. (ComScore) • Quality of math & science education (WEF) • Internet access in schools (WEF) Business internet use ICT impact Internet use Online media and social activity e-Government e-Education • U.N. e-Government Development Index (UN) • U.N. e-participation index (UN) • Government online service index (WEF) Business Consumer Government 33% 33% 33% 33% 33% 33% 50% 25% 25% 33% 33% 33% 50% 50% 50% 50% 50% 50% e-Intensityscore Source: : BCG analysis, Magna Global, UN, WEF, ComScore, ITU, Euromonitor, Ovum Exhibit 18 | BCG E-Intensity Index Composition
  35. 35. The Boston Consulting Group | 33 of the DSM. This output has then been allo- cated to the EU member states based on a set of assumptions. •• Economies that are more dependent on exports will see larger shifts in GDP from regulatory changes that affect trade. •• Nations with economies that are more digital will see larger effects from changes that affect digital trade and standards. •• A country will see an effect on its GDP that is in proportion to the comparable size of that country’s GDP size. These assumptions have been built into a model and then been equally weighted. This has in turn rendered our presented results. When modeling the potential impact of an increased level of digitization, we have adopt- ed a market-driven approach. A few emerg- ing high-value markets were identified. Esti- mates for these markets were then established by multiple means. The impact on the different countries was then calculated based on an assumption that a world-class level of digitization would en- able a country to obtain a share of these mar- kets proportionate to its fraction of the gross world product. The net impact on jobs is calculated by using a productivity metric called gross value-­ added per hour worked. We have assumed that an increased level of digitization will in- crease labor productivity and thus require fewer employees to produce the same amount of value. When using this new level of productivity, we can calculate an approxi- mate number of new jobs that will be needed to create a specific level of GDP impact. While future job creation is hard to predict, this approach gives a good approximation of what the magnitude of the benefits of digiti- zation will be. Overall we have used trusted sources for gen- eral data on GDP, exports, and workforce sta- tistics. These sources include: the World Bank, OECD, Eurostat, CIA World Fact Book, IDC, and Gartner.
  36. 36. 34 | Digitizing Europe NOTE TO THE READER Authors Emanuelle Alm is a consultant in the Stockholm office of The Boston Consulting Group. Niclas Collian- der is a consultant in the firm’s Stockholm office. Filiep Deforche is a senior partner in the Belgium office. Fredrik Lind is a senior part- ner and managing director in BCG’s Stockholm office. Ville Stohne is a consultant in the firm’s Stockholm office. Olof Sundström is a princi- pal in BCG’s Stockholm office. For Further Contact This report was prepared by BCG’s Nordic Technology, Media & Tele- communications practice. If you would like to discuss the content of this report, please contact one of the authors. Fredrik Lind Senior Partner and Managing Director BCG Stockholm +46 733 470 380 Olof Sundström Principal BCG Stockholm +46 706 476 472
  37. 37. © The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. 2016. All rights reserved. For information or permission to reprint, please contact BCG at: Phone: +46 8 402 44 00 Fax: +46 8 402 46 00 Mail: The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Gustav Adolfs Torg 18 Stockholm 111 52 Sweden To find the latest BCG content and register to receive e-alerts on this topic or others, please visit Follow bcg.perspectives on Facebook and Twitter. 5/2016
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