Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Portugal

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Find here the most recent analysis and data by country. A selection of key documents and graphs are shown about topics such as broadband, internet activity and skills, egovernment, ICT in schools, research and innovation, as well as other main indicators.
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Portugal has an overall score[1] of 0.46 and ranks 16th out of the 28 EU Member States.  Portugal has good broadband network coverage (broadband is available to all homes, fast internet is available to 84% of them and subscriptions to fast connections are now approaching half of all broadband connections), advanced online public services (Portugal ranks 7th among EU countries for its well-developed online public services and fair usage by citizens) and performs above average in digitisation of businesses (the country ranks second in the use of RFID, sixth in electronic information sharing within companies and seventh in using eInvoices). The country’s greatest challenge is to improve the digital skills of its citizens (almost half of the population doesn’t have basic digital skills) and to bring them online (30% have never used the Internet) so that they can fully participate in the digital economy and society.

Portugal falls into the cluster of medium‑performance[2] countries, where it performs below the cluster average.

 

DESIPortugalClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015160.460.510.47
DESI 2014160.440.470.44

1. Connectivity

1 ConnectivityPortugalClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015130.550.60.55
DESI 2014130.510.540.51

 

With an overall Connectivity score of 0.55, Portugal ranks 13th among EU countries. Broadband is widely available, but only half of Portuguese households subscribe to fixed broadband, and not even 40% of citizens subscribe to mobile broadband.

 

 PortugalEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
1a1 Fixed BB Coverage
% households
100%
(2013)
 8100%
(2013)
897%
(2013)
1a2 Fixed BB Take-up
% households
53%
(2014)
 2753%
(2013)
2670%
(2014)
1b1 Mobile BB Take-up
Subscribers per 100 people
38
(2014)
 2734
(2013)
2767
(2014)
1b2 Spectrum
% of the target for spectrum to be harmonised at EU level
78%
(2014)
 778%
(2013)
770%
(2014)
1c1 NGA Coverage
% households, out of all households
84%
(2013)
 784%
(2013)
762%
(2013)
1c2 Subscriptions to Fast BB
% of subscriptions >= 30Mbps, out of fixed BB subscriptions
49%
(2014)
 537%
(2013)
722%
(2014)
1d1 Fixed BB Price
% individual gross income spent for the cheapest standalone Fixed Broadband subscription (lower values are better)
2.8%
(2014)
 262.4%
(2013)
241.3%
(2014)

 

In Portugal, broadband is available to all homes. Moreover, networks capable of providing at least 30 Mbps are available to 84% of households (well above the EU average of 62%) and subscriptions to this type of connection have grown significantly in the last year, nearing now half of all broadband connections.

The key challenge for Portugal is to increase broadband take-up, both fixed and mobile. Despite ubiquitous networks, only 53% of homes subscribe to fixed broadband. As for mobile broadband, only 38% of Portuguese citizens had a subscription. In both cases Portugal is the second lowest performing country in the EU.

Among the reasons for the low take-up of broadband in Portugal might be the subscription price, since the country has the third most expensive entry-level broadband price in the EU. An individual seeking to subscribe to a broadband connection[3] must spend on average 2.8% of her gross income, which is more than the overall EU average of 1.3%. Not only is this price above the EU average, it has also seen an increase from the previous year (2.4%).

2. Human Capital

2 Human CapitalPortugalClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015230.430.570.54
DESI 2014230.40.540.52

 

With a Human Capital score of 0.43, Portugal ranks 23rd among EU countries. Despite performing slightly better than in the previous year (0.4), Portugal still has a severe digital skills gap.

 

 PortugalEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
2a1 Internet Users
% individuals (aged 16-74)
61%
(2014)
 2458%
(2013)
2475%
(2014)
2a2 Basic Digital Skills
% individuals (aged 16-74)
51%
(2014)
 2147%
(2012)
2159%
(2014)
2b1 ICT Specialists
% employed individuals
1.7%
(2013)
 261.7%
(2012)
262.8%
(2013)
2b2 STEM Graduates
Graduates in STEM per 1000 individuals (aged 20 to 29)
19
(2012)
 619
(2012)
617
(2012)

 

In order to fully develop its digital economy and society, Portugal needs to engage its citizens to use the Internet. Only 61% of Portuguese citizens use the Internet on a regular (weekly) basis, which makes the country the fifth worst performer in the EU. Furthermore, 30% of the Portuguese population has never used the Internet (the EU average is 18%), which means that close to one-third of the population cannot partake on the possibilities offered by the Internet, nor can they contribute to the digital economy.

Another key challenge for Portugal is to address the lack of digital skills, since close to half of the Portuguese population doesn’t have basic digital skills. This is likely correlated to low level of overall skills in the population. In 2013, 59% of the Portuguese population had lower secondary education or less, and 21% of the active population had completed only up to the first cycle of basic education. In the Portuguese workforce, only 1.7% of employed people are ICT specialists, the third lowest value in the EU.

The only indicator where Portugal performs better than the EU average is in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates, with 1.9% of Portuguese people aged 20-29 years old holding a STEM degree. While positive, this is not enough to compensate for Portugal’s digital skills deficit.

3. Use of Internet

3 Use of InternetPortugalClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015150.420.440.41
DESI 2014140.40.420.39

 

In terms of the propensity of individuals to use Internet services, Portugal scores 0.42 (up from 0.4 last year) and ranks 15th among EU countries. Portuguese appear to refrain most from using the Internet when they need to make transactions, as Portugal performs below the EU average both in online banking and online shopping.

 

 PortugalEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
3a1 News
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
74%
(2014)
 1572%
(2013)
1567%
(2014)
3a2 Music, Videos and Games
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
49%
(2014)
 1648%
(2012)
1849%
(2014)
3a3 Video on Demand
% households that have a TV
56%
(2013)
 656%
(2013)
639%
(2013)
3a4 IPTV
% households that have a TV
26%
(2013)
 526%
(2013)
513%
(2013)
3b1 Video Calls
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
37%
(2014)
 2036%
(2013)
1637%
(2014)
3b2 Social Networks
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
72%
(2014)
 270%
(2013)
458%
(2014)
3c1 Banking
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
39%
(2014)
 2336%
(2013)
2257%
(2014)
3c2 Shopping
% individuals who used Internet in the last year (aged 16-74)
39%
(2014)
 2338%
(2013)
2263%
(2014)

 

Portuguese Internet users engage in a broad range of online activities. They read news online (74%), listen to music, watch films and play games online (49%), use the Internet to communicate via voice or video calls (37%) or through social networks (72%), and obtain video content using their broadband connections (though Video on Demand – 33% – or IPTV – 26%). For most of these activities, engagement among Portuguese is higher than overall in the EU and continues to grow.

While Portuguese Internet users are keen to engage in the above Internet activities, they are reluctant to engage in online transactions. The shares of Portuguese Internet users that use online banking (39%) or shop online (39%) are lower than the EU average. This is an area where Portugal should improve, because a digital economy is partly fuelled by its citizens’ consumption in the online channel.

4. Integration of Digital Technology

4 Integration of Digital TechnologyPortugalClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015120.370.370.33
DESI 2014140.330.340.3

 

In Integration of Digital Technology by businesses, Portugal scores 0.37, and ranks 12th among EU countries.  Portugal performs above the EU average, but Portugal’s businesses could do better at exploiting the possibilities offered by on-line commerce, social media and cloud-based applications.

 

 PortugalEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
4a1 Electronic Information Sharing
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
40%
(2014)
 632%
(2013)
1131%
(2014)
4a2 RFID
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
8%
(2014)
 21%
(2011)
243.8%
(2014)
4a3 Social Media
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
11%
(2014)
 2014%
(2013)
1714%
(2014)
4a4 eInvoices
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
13%
(2014)
 717%
(2013)
511%
(2014)
4a5 Cloud
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
8%
(2014)
 17n.a.-11%
(2014)
4b1 SMEs Selling Online
% SMEs (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
14%
(2014)
 1413%
(2013)
1215%
(2014)
4b2 eCommerce Turnover
% turnover of SMEs (no financial sector, 10-249 employees)
11%
(2014)
 99.1%
(2013)
78.8%
(2014)
4b3 Selling Online Cross-border
% SMEs (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
5.4%
(2013)
 185.4%
(2013)
186.5%
(2013)

 

A true digital economy is one where businesses take full advantage of the possibilities and benefits offered by digital technologies, both to improve their efficiency and productivity, as well as to reach costumers and realise sales.

Portugal is doing fairly well in integrating digital technologies in the business sector. In particular, it ranks second among EU countries in the use of RFID, sixth in electronic information sharing (ERP) and seventh in using eInvoices. However, the country’s business have room for improvement in seizing the advantages of digitisation, in particular concerning the use of social media to engage and communicate with customers and partners, and in taking advantage of cloud technologies.

Portuguese businesses can also take better advantage of the possibilities offered by online commerce. Few SMEs in Portugal sell online (14%), and even less sell online to other EU member states (5.4%). Those who do sell online make on average 11% of their turnover from those sales, and while this value is above the EU average, further improvement of online commerce can be an avenue for enhanced economic growth in Portugal.

5. Digital Public Services

5 Digital Public ServicesPortugalClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 201570.550.490.47
DESI 201470.560.450.45

 

Digital Public Services is the DESI 2015 dimension where Portugal ranks higher. With a score of 0.55, it ranks 7th among EU countries. Portuguese online public services are well developed and see a fair usage by citizens. In eHealth, Portugal can make great progress by implementing ePrescription.

 

 PortugalEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
5a1 eGovernment Users
% individuals returning filled forms, out of Internet users in the last year (aged 16-74)
43%
(2014)
 742%
(2013)
633%
(2014)
5a2 Pre-filled Forms
Score (0 to 100)
76
(2014)
 565
(2013)
1045
(2014)
5a3 Online Service Completion
Score (0 to 100)
98
(2014)
 296
(2013)
275
(2014)
5a4 Open Data
Score (0 to 700)
360
(2014)
 15n.a.-380
(2014)
5b1 Medical Data Exchange
% General Practitioners
43%
(2013)
 843%
(2013)
836%
(2013)
5b2 ePrescription
% General Practitioners
3.1%
(2013)
 243.1%
(2013)
2427%
(2013)

 

Modern public services offered online in an efficient manner are a vehicle for efficiency gains for enterprises, citizens, and the public administration itself. Thanks to a continuous and concerted effort from the Portuguese public administration to develop and deploy its services online for both enterprises and citizens, Portugal performs significantly well in this field. On the demand side, 43% of Portuguese Internet users exchanged filled forms with public authorities online (10% more than the EU average). On the supply side, the indicator scores[4] place Portugal among the top EU countries in sophistication of online services.

The efficiency and degree of service offered by health systems can be greatly improved through digitisation, and Portugal’s performance in in this field can be improved. While the country performs well in terms of adoption of medical data exchange (43% of Portuguese general practitioners exchange medical data electronically, versus 36% in the EU), Portugal lags significantly behind in ePrescription with only 3.1% of its general practitioners transferring prescriptions to pharmacists electronically.

 


[1] DESI scores range from 0 to 1, the higher the score the better the country performance.

[2] In the DESI 2015, the medium-performance cluster of countries comprises Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, France, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

[3] Calculations performed taking into account the price of the least expensive standalone fixed broadband connection offering speeds between 12 Mbps and 30 Mbps.

[4] 76/100 in the Pre-filled Forms indicator (measuring the extent to which data that is already known to the public administration is pre-filled in the forms that are presented to the user), and of 98/100 in the Online Service Completion indicator (measuring the extent to which the various steps in an interaction with the public administration – life event – can be performed completely online).

 

Figures from 2013

 Download the country profile for 2013 as a pdf

 Download country information for 2013 as a power point presentation

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Last updated on 24/02/2015