Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Digital Agenda Scoreboard 2015: Most targets reached, time has come to lift digital borders

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The European Commission has just released new data and analysis on digital performance in the EU in 2014.

The analysis of EU data showed that most of the Digital Agenda targets are already achieved -such as the number of people regularly using internet or the availability of basic broadband. However, some targets are not yet reached –for example, not many SMEs are selling online and there's too little shopping online from other EU countries. The analysis shows that the Digital Single Market strategy was adopted at the right moment, as it can significantly contribute to resolving pending issues. Watch this video for an overview of findings.

The main achievements in EU's digital performance in the past year include:

  • significant progress in coverage and subscriptions to fast internet (both fixed and mobile)
  • achievement of the Digital Agenda eGovernment use targets.

Findings include:

On Connectivity

New broadband data shows that:

  • in the last two years, there have been 20 million more subscriptions to fast internet (at least 30Mbps) in the EU. However, fast subscriptions remain fewer than one third of total subscriptions.
  • 4G mobile broadband is available to 79% of households, up from 27% two years ago.
  • basic broadband is available to everyone in the EU, while fixed technologies cover 97% of households. Next Generation Access (NGA) networks, offering speeds above 30Mbps, cover 68% of households, up from 62% a year ago. Rural coverage remains significantly lower, especially in NGA.
  • Internet traffic per user (downloads and uploads) is much higher in the US than in Western Europe on both fixed networks (75GB vs. 39GB per month) and mobile (1.8GB vs. 0.8GB per month on smartphones).
  • EU telecom operator revenues have been declining since 2010 (from €246bn in 2010 to €230bn in 2014), while in the US they are still growing (from €220bn in 2010 to €266bn in 2014).

On Human Capital

  • internet users continue to increase, with 75% of the EU population reporting that they used the internet at least weekly in 2014;
  • for most people, use of the internet is a daily activity, with 65% of EU citizens reporting using it daily in 2014;
  • Use by disadvantaged people (individuals belonging to at least one of the three groups: 'aged 55-74', 'low education' or 'unemployed, inactive or retired') also continues to rise, with 60% reporting using the internet at least weekly in 2014.
  • As such, the Digital Agenda targets on internet use have been met before their target date of 2015. However:
  • 18% of the EU population have still never used the internet. The main reasons for non-use are lack of interest, lack of skills and cost factors;
  • 40% of the population have insufficient digital skills;
  • the large and growing demand for ICT professionals in the economy is leading to a skills gap projected to reach 825 000 unfilled vacancies by 2020. The biggest gaps are expected in Germany, the UK and Italy.

On Use of Internet and Integration of Digital Technology (including eCommerce, cloud and online services)

  • more than half (57%) of EU Internet users use online banking;
  • close to two-thirds (63%) are shopping online;
  • cross-border online shopping is growing slowly (up by 6,5 percentage points in the last four years); - 21% of individuals in the EU make use of cloud services to store files, while 15% do so for the purpose of sharing files;
  • young people are more than three times likely to use cloud services than those aged 55 and above. Only 11% of cloud users pay for the service they are using.

However:

  • only 15% of citizens in 2014 were buying from another EU country;
  • only 14.5% of SMEs sell online, which represents an increase of only 3.5 percentage points over five years;
  • 97% of businesses in the EU had an internet connection in 2014, but only 19% made use of cloud services.

On Digital Public Services

  • 26% of the population uses eGovernment services to submit forms to public authorities online (Digital Agenda target of 25% reached). This represents more than half of potential eGovernment users (internet-savvy people needing to submit forms to public authorities).

However:

  • while the majority of the most used public services are now available online, these online services are not yet user-friendly and transparent enough to overcome the barriers to use by the less digitally-skilled members of the population (such as lack of trust and lack of skills).

On R&D (including R&D in the ICT sector and participation in Horizon 2020)

  • The ICT sector represents 4% of the EU GDP and employs 6.2m people. The sector drives 17% of total business expenditure in R&D (BERD) and accounts for 26% of the EU’s technological innovation (measured by patents), 19% of employment in knowledge intensive activities, 25% of exports of high-tech goods, 20% of exports of knowledge intensive services, and 23% of employment in innovative fast-growing firms;
  • In its first year of implementation, Horizon 2020 has allocated € 1.55 billion of EU funding to 545 projects in the field of ICT, attracting 2,106 organisations. Under the FP7, the average annual funding for ICT was €1.08 billion/year; the average number of participants was 1,830/year;
  • during the past year, Future Networks and Internet and the Micro/nanosystems are the research areas with the highest funding;
  • business participation in Horizon 2020 is higher than in FP7. Businesses accounted for 42% of participations and 41% of budget, up from 33% and 35% respectively in FP7.
  • funding going to SMEs has also increased, from 15% to 19%, and so did the share of SME participations, increasing from 16% to 25%.

Background

The Digital Agenda Scoreboard presents previously unpublished analysis and conclusions, based partly on data published online between January and June 2015. Analysis in the Connectivity section focuses mostly on new Broadband statistics (available online in June), while the other sections make use of indicators previously available online (as of January 2015).

The Digital Agenda Scoreboard reports on the progress of the European Union on digital issues. It includes an in-depth analysis in fields relevant to EU digital policies. The Commission also publishes yearly the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which focuses on progress in 5 key fields.

This is the fourth time that the Commission is releasing the Digital Agenda Scoreboard. This report includes data from 2014; some of the data in the R&D section are from 2012.

The data is collected in 6 chapters: Connectivity, Human Capital (digital skills), Use of Internet (by citizens), Integration of Digital Technology (by businesses), Digital Public Services, and R&D (including R&D in the ICT sector and participation in Horizon 2020).

Useful links

Digital Agenda Scoreboard

Scoreboard country profiles: look at country-specific information about Connectivity, Human Capital, Use of Internet, Integration of Digital Technology, Digital Public Services and R&D:

Digital Economy and Society Index