Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Spain

Article
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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Spain has an overall score[1] of 0.49 and ranks 14th out of the 28 EU Member States. During the past year, Spain has improved its performance in all areas measured by DESI. In particular, Spain is increasing its performance in connectivity, as fast broadband networks are being deployed (73% of households have access to fast broadband), although with gaps among regions. In general, Spain is weak on the demand side, with low levels of digital skills (only 58% of Spaniards have basic digital skills) and Internet use, but strong on the supply side by companies (SMEs selling online and using eInvoice are increasing significantly) and public services (digital public services is the area in which Spain performs best; progress in this field is mostly due to a significant increase in the active users of eGovernment, thanks to an improved offer of eGovernment services).

DESISpainClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015140.490.520.48
DESI 2014150.450.460.45

1. Connectivity

1 ConnectivitySpainClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015190.520.630.56
DESI 2014170.470.540.51

 

Regarding connectivity, Spain is increasing its performance in line with the EU average, albeit from a relatively low level and less rapidly than the other medium-performance countries. Mobile broadband and fast fixed broadband are the two motors of this improvement.

 

 SpainEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
1a1 Fixed BB Coverage
% households
95%
(2014)
 2297%
(2013)
1997%
(2014)
1a2 Fixed BB Take-up
% households
65%
(2014)
 1663%
(2013)
1670%
(2014)
1b1 Mobile BB Take-up
Subscribers per 100 people
77
(2014)
 868
(2013)
872
(2014)
1b2 Spectrum
% of the target for spectrum to be harmonised at EU level
76%
(2014)
 1176%
(2013)
1270%
(2014)
1c1 NGA Coverage
% households, out of all households
73%
(2014)
 1865%
(2013)
2068%
(2014)
1c2 Subscriptions to Fast BB
% of subscriptions >= 30Mbps, out of fixed BB subscriptions
23%
(2014)
 2015%
(2013)
2226%
(2014)
1d1 Fixed BB Price
% individual gross income spent for the cheapest standalone Fixed Broadband subscription (lower values are better)
2.6%
(2014)
 262.5%
(2013)
251.4%
(2014)

 

High-speed fixed and mobile broadband deployment has accelerated, also in the context of the adoption of the “Digital Agenda for Spain” in 2013. As a result, Spain has relatively good coverage, but a focused effort is necessary to reduce the substantial differences between regions (Comunidades Autónomas).

Beyond coverage, there is also a clear need to reinforce uptake and regular use: broadband subscriptions continue to lag behind, with the gap between Spain and the EU average actually slightly widening over the last couple of years. One contributing factor is that broadband connections are still significantly more expensive than the EU average.

 

 Download the Report on the Implementation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Package (EN)

2. Human Capital

2 Human CapitalSpainClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015160.50.570.54
DESI 2014170.470.530.52

 

With a Human Capital score of 0.5, Spain ranks in the lower half of EU countries, although it performs slightly better than in the previous year (0.47).

 

 SpainEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
2a1 Internet Users
% individuals (aged 16-74)
71%
(2014)
 1766%
(2013)
1975%
(2014)
2a2 Basic Digital Skills
% individuals (aged 16-74)
58%
(2014)
 1455%
(2012)
1559%
(2014)
2b1 ICT Specialists
% employed individuals
2.5%
(2012)
 162.5%
(2012)
162.8%
(2012)
2b2 STEM Graduates
Graduates in STEM per 1000 individuals (aged 20 to 29)
16
(2012)
 1716
(2012)
1717
(2012)

 

In order to fully develop its digital society, Spain needs to engage more of its citizens to use the Internet and to acquire digital skills. While there is some progress from year to year, so far this progress has been too slow to catch up with the more advanced Member States. However, Internet use has recently accelerated, including an increasing number of people without basic digital skills starting to get connected.

Insufficient levels of digital skills also limit the exploitation of economic benefits of investments in ICT by companies and public authorities. Although Spain is not faring too badly compared to other EU countries, in absolute levels the problem remains significant. The problem has been recognised and measures have been proposed in the Digital Agenda for Spain, but it is too early to tell how successful they will be.

3. Use of Internet

3 Use of InternetSpainClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015190.420.470.43
DESI 2014210.360.430.41

 

In terms of the propensity of individuals to use Internet services, Spain scores 0.42 (up from 0.36 last year) and ranks 19th among EU countries.

 

 SpainEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
3a1 News
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
78%
(2014)
 1270%
(2013)
1767%
(2014)
3a2 Music, Videos and Games
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
52%
(2014)
 1349%
(2012)
1749%
(2014)
3a3 Video on Demand
% households that have a TV
27%
(2014)
 1421%
(2013)
1641%
(2014)
3b1 Video Calls
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
32%
(2014)
 2528%
(2013)
2437%
(2014)
3b2 Social Networks
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
67%
(2014)
 964%
(2013)
1058%
(2014)
3c1 Banking
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
49%
(2014)
 1846%
(2013)
1957%
(2014)
3c2 Shopping
% individuals who used Internet in the last year (aged 16-74)
48%
(2014)
 1843%
(2013)
1763%
(2014)

 

Spanish people are keen to engage in a variety of online activities, but the overall score hides important differences across services. The bandwidth-hungry video applications (video calls and to some extent video-on-demand) are much less used in Spain than in the EU as a whole, probably reflecting the limited availability of sufficiently fast broadband networks and the use of alternative channels. On the other hand, those Spaniards that use the Internet are avid users of social networks, in common with a number of other countries from the low and medium-performance groups.

For those applications requiring a good deal of trust in online security, i.e. online banking and online shopping, Spain shows quite low levels of adoption, albeit not among the worst. In so far as these applications are among the key drivers of adoption of the Internet, their low level of adoption can partly explain why the overall Internet use in Spain is relatively low.

4. Integration of Digital Technology

4 Integration of Digital TechnologySpainClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015140.360.370.33
DESI 2014160.320.330.3

 

In Integration of Digital Technology by businesses, Spain scores 0.36, better than most other dimensions and progressing more rapidly than the EU average.

 

 SpainEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
4a1 Electronic Information Sharing
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
36%
(2014)
 1131%
(2013)
1331%
(2014)
4a2 RFID
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
6.5%
(2014)
 34.3%
(2011)
23.8%
(2014)
4a3 Social Media
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
20%
(2014)
 818%
(2013)
614%
(2014)
4a4 eInvoices
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
8.8%
(2014)
 186.8%
(2013)
2311%
(2014)
4a5 Cloud
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
9.3%
(2014)
 15n.a.-11%
(2014)
4b1 SMEs Selling Online
% SMEs (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
16%
(2014)
 1012%
(2013)
1515%
(2014)
4b2 eCommerce Turnover
% turnover of SMEs (no financial sector, 10-249 employees)
8.1%
(2014)
 147.4%
(2013)
178.8%
(2014)
4b3 Selling Online Cross-border
% SMEs (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
4.5%
(2013)
 214.5%
(2013)
216.5%
(2013)

 

Spanish businesses are increasingly making use of the new digital technologies. The share of SMEs selling online has recently made a jump, and the share of SMEs using eInvoice is progressing rapidly, partly in response to the mandatory use of eInvoice in interaction with the central government (see dimension Digital Public Services).

On the other hand, the use of social media is growing only slowly, which is unusual for an economy with a very strong focus on tourism and accommodation services, and also contrasts with the enthusiastic adoption of social networks by Spanish residents. Spanish SMEs exploit the potential of cross-border sales only to a small extent, but this is fairly typical for large Member States.

5. Digital Public Services

5 Digital Public ServicesSpainClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 201560.650.510.47
DESI 201460.610.440.45

 

Digital Public Services is the dimension where Spain performs best of all DESI 2015 dimensions: with a score of 0.65, Spain ranks 6th among EU countries. Moreover, Spain's score improved faster than the EU average.

 

 SpainEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
5a1 eGovernment Users
% individuals returning filled forms, out of Internet users in the last year (aged 16-74)
37%
(2014)
 1232%
(2013)
1333%
(2014)
5a2 Pre-filled Forms
Score (0 to 100)
56
(2014)
 1254
(2013)
1245
(2014)
5a3 Online Service Completion
Score (0 to 100)
91
(2014)
 491
(2013)
375
(2014)
5a4 Open Data
Score (0 to 700)
550
(2014)
 2n.a.-378
(2014)
5b1 Medical Data Exchange
% General Practitioners
64%
(2013)
 564%
(2013)
536%
(2013)
5b2 ePrescription
% General Practitioners
53%
(2013)
 853%
(2013)
827%
(2013)

 

Progress in the area of digital public services has come mostly from a significant increase in the active users of eGovernment. This probably reflects an improved offer of eGovernment services. Indeed, since the creation of the Commission to reform the public administrations (CORA) in October 2012, the digitisation of public services has been an important element of Spain's administrative reform and has been considered broadly positive by the OECD in 2014. As a result of a the Law on eInvoicing and the creation of an accounting record of 2013, electronic invoicing has become obligatory for all suppliers dealing with the central public administration for more than 5000 € as of 15 January 2015. This increases efficiency and reduces fraud. Many autonomous regions have already adhered to the central entry portal (FACe) or are putting a similar system in place. A new law on administrative procedure is scheduled for adoption early in 2015, with the objective of a paperless administration.

As far as eHealth is concerned, Spain is fairly advanced in comparison to the EU, but at quite some distance from the leading Nordic countries. There is this still considerable potential for further improvement.

 

 Download the eGovernment benchmark factsheet (EN)

6. R&D

 Download information on R&D in the ICT sector and participation in Horizon 2020 (EN)


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

 

Country:

Last updated on 18/06/2015