19 Feb 2018

PwC study – Accelerate to a trusted Digital Single Market

Executive Summary

Based on the mid-term review of the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy and extensive complementary analysis, this study – commissioned by DIGITALEUROPE and produced by PwC – takes the pulse of 40 top European executives on the ongoing digital transformation across industry sectors and governments. It identifies a series of key objectives and enablers which need to be streamlined across Europe, and outlines some case studies that illustrate positive changes.

Conclusions from the field

On 6 May 2015, the European Commission adopted an ambitious strategy to complete the Digital Single Market. Many actions outlined in this strategy are essential for the European internal market and industry. Yet, the EU’s digital single market remains too fragmented, and progress is too slow.

Our interviews revealed that Europe could reap the full benefits of the digital transformation if it focuses on 6 areas of action:

Put a digital skills plan in place for the entire population. In 2016, only 56% of Europeans had adequate digital skills. It is urgent to skill up the workforce and include digital skills in the education curricula. Without the right framework for skills, Europe risks missing out on the opportunity to transform traditional industries with value-added digital jobs.


of Europeans do not have adequate digital skills

Facilitate and trigger the deployment of e-services and lead by example with state-of-the-art public administrations. The public sector constitutes between 20% and 30% of European GDP, and only 33% of the EU population are benefiting from advanced e-services today.

Maximise the potential of a data-driven economy to generate more growth based on innovation, customised services and new business models. Cross-border data flows amount to 13-16% in Europe, as a percentage of all data traffic. Keeping data imprisoned within national boundaries will hurt the growth and innovation potential of Europe.

Upgrade the infrastructure to boost connectivity through spectrum, 5G, broadband, high performance computing and cloud computing. Ambitious rule-making and intense investment on spectrum and on connectivity are vital. If Europe were to invest €56.6 billion on 5G, it would create 2.3 million jobs and generate €113.1 billion benefits per annum by 2020.

Reinforce cybersecurity capacity by further combining and coordinating efforts across Europe. It is estimated that an average of €265 billion is lost in Europe due to cybercrime. More collaboration among Member States and with the industry is needed to define and implement a secure cyber framework.

€ 265 billion

yearly economic loss in Europe due to cybercrime

Urgently exploit the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). While AI is becoming an essential driver of future growth and job creation, 83% of external investment in AI is absorbed outside the EU. In 2030, AI’s contribution to the global economy will reach €13 trillion. If the EU does not prepare and adapt now, this will lead to a major setback for innovation and job creation in Europe.

A set of 18 concrete actions supported by successful national case studies have been identified and categorised into this report for the 6 themes mentioned above.

We hope that these areas of action and case studies can be used as food for thought to better equip Europe’s economy and society for the digital transformation, and can lead to the creation of a functional and more integrated Digital Single Market.

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