The EU falls short of the US on digitalisation – new EIB report

The European Investment Bank has released the results of a new survey conducted to understand the state of digitalisation in Europe and in the US.

According to the survey, the EU lags behind the US when it comes to digitalisation of business processes and all sectors of life.

Only four EU countries (Denmark, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Finland) are ahead of the US in terms of digitalisation.

Other key study findings include:

  • The difference in adoption rates between EU and US firms is 13 percentage points in services and 11 percentage points in the infrastructure sector.
  • Digital businesses outperform non-digital ones in growth and job creation
  • Digitalisation has shifted from ‘nice to have’ to ‘crucial to have’
  • Businesses need to revive their digital transformation strategies to be more relevant on a longer-term
  • Access to management, skilled labor and the regulatory environment affect the digitalisation of EU and US firms. Labor market regulations, business regulations and the lack of external finance are the major obstacles to investment in digital technologies in Europe.
  • Large firms tend to digitalise faster than small firms in both the EU and the US.

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Debora Revoltella, EIB Chief Economist, said: “If European policymakers want European firms to become more digital they need to address structural barriers to investment in digitalisation.

“Policy action should develop measures to fast-track the adoption of digitalisation. These include more advanced managerial skills and practices, improving the skills of workers through training and making it easier to finance investments in intangibles and digital technologies. The current Covid-19 economic crisis can be an opportunity to frontload some of those initiatives.”

The “Who is prepared for the new digital age? Evidence from the EIB Investment Survey” comprised of 13,500 firms.