The DESI 2019 shows a small increase in the use of e-commerce for citizens and SMEs


On 11 June, the European Commission published its Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) for the year 2019. This year’s edition shows that all Member States improved in the DESI results. Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark scored the highest and are among the global leaders in digitalization. They are followed by the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Ireland, Estonia and Belgium. Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus and Spain have made the most progress (by more than 15 points) over the last five years.

Every year since 2014, the European Commission publishes the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), a composite index that summarizes relevant indicators on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness in order to measure the progress of these EU countries towards a digital economy and society . This index brings together a set of relevant indicators on Europe’s current digital policy mix.

The DESI is composed of five principal policy areas, which regroup 34 indicators overall:

• Connectivity (fixed broadband, mobile broadband, fast and ultrafast broadband and prices);
• Human capital (Internet user skills and advanced skills);
• Use of internet (citizens’ use of internet services and online transactions);
• Integration of digital technology (business digitization and e-commerce);
• Digital public services (e-Government and e-health).

This year’s numbers show that 83% of Europeans go online regularly (at least once a week). This is 2 points more than in the previous year. The percentage of internet users engaging in various online activities has overall slightly increased in comparison to the 2018 DESI results. More specifically, 69% of internet users shop online and 64% use online banking.

Also, the use of e-commerce in SMEs grew slightly from 14% in 2013 to 17% of SMEs in 2017. Nevertheless, numbers show that less than a half of those trading online sell to other EU Member States. Therefore, even though businesses are becoming more digital, e-commerce is growing slowly. Overall, the top EU performers in this domain are Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, while Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland need to catch up. The fact that the largest EU economies are not digital frontrunners indicates that the speed of digital transformation must accelerate, in order for the EU to stay competitive at world level.
In order to boost e-commerce in the EU, the EU has agreed on a series of measures from more transparent parcel delivery prices to simpler VAT and digital contract rules. Since 3 December 2018, consumers and companies are able to find the best online deals throughout the EU without experiencing discrimination based on their nationality or place of residence.

The DESI 2019 is available here. A press release and a factsheet can also be found here and here.