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Brits remain Europe's online shopping champions but superfast broadband deployment lags
For yet another year the UK remains the undisputed champion of online shopping in Europe while British SMEs lead in the use of social media. But despite universal broadband coverage for households, coverage by ultra-fast broadband (100 Mbps and above) reaches only half the population and uptake is also slow.
The findings come from the EU's annual digital economy and society index (DESI) which measures progress by member states in areas such as connectivity, use of internet services and human capital. This year the UK improved its overall score and is now ranked fifth, after Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark. But while it scores high in a number of areas – deployment of basic broadband, online shopping, download of video, music and games, or online banking, it performs less well in other areas like ultra-fast broadband and information sharing by businesses. The UK ranks above the EU average in digital skills, but over the years DESI data shows that despite strong demand the number of ICT graduates, as share of all graduations, remains low.
For the whole of Europe, DESI figures over the last five years show that targeted investment and robust digital policies can have a significant impact on the performance of individual countries. But the data also shows that the largest EU economies are not necessarily the digital frontrunners. This indicates that in order for the EU to stay competitive at world level, the speed of digital transformation must accelerate.