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International Digital Economy and Society Index2018

Updated: Mar 30, 2022

The International Digital Economy and Society Index (I-DESI) measures the digital

economy performance of EU28 Member States and the EU as a whole in

comparison with 17 other countries around the world (Australia, Brazil, Canada,

Chile, China, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Serbia,

South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States). The I-DESI aims to mirror

and extend the results of the European Commission's Digital Economy and Society

Index (DESI) by finding indicators that measure similar variables for non-EU

countries. The DESI is a composite index that benchmarks relevant indicators on

digital performance and tracks the evolution of the EU as a whole and its member

states in digital competitiveness. I-DESI combines 24 indicators and uses a

weighting system to rank each country based on its digital performance with the aim

to benchmarking the development of the digital economy and society.

The 2018 I-DESI utilises datasets over a four year time period from 2013 to 2016 to

provide trend analysis. It brings together a set of relevant indicators similar to the

current EU28 DESI digital policy mix. Coverage of suitable datasets in more

developed countries, which provide a reasonable peer group for comparison with

EU28 Member States, are relatively good. Careful selection of variables has ensured

that coverage beyond the non-EU 17 countries included in this study is relatively

good, but not quite at the robust level suitable for analysis in a European

Commission study.

This study has selected 24 indicators in five different dimensions and brought them

together to provide a single overview. While the numbers have little meaning in

themselves, the comparative figures are where the story really lies. Comparisons

enable the identification of gaps between the performance and capabilities of the 45

countries studied (28 Member States and 17 non-EU countries). Importantly this

international study enables the comparison of EU28 digital performance with a peer

group of 17 countries from around the globe. I-DESI will help countries to identify

areas requiring investments and action to reach the levels of the best performing

global countries.

Correlations and covariance testing of indicators, sub-dimensions and dimensions

were undertaken to examine how closely the I-DESI matches the DESI data for 2013

to 2016 against the five key dimensions examined by the study. The level of

correlation was good, a correlation score1 of 0.94 was recorded between I-DESI and

DESI scores and country rankings. Comparisons between the two studies can

therefore be undertaken with a relatively high degree of confidence.

The main methods stipulated for analysis included comparison of the average

performance of EU28 Member States and the performance of the leading four and

bottom four Member States from each group with a specified representative group of

four non-EU countries (China, Japan, South Korea and USA). Comparisons were

undertaken against the five dimensions developed by DESI. These are:

1. Connectivity: The deployment of broadband infrastructure and its


2. Digital skills: The skills needed to take advantage of the possibilities

offered by a digital society;

1 A score of 1 indicates a ‘perfect fit’, a score of zero indicates no correlation.7

3. Citizen use of Internet: The variety of activities performed by citizens

already online;

4. Business technology integration: The digitisation of businesses and

development of the online sales channel;

5. Digital public services: The digitisation of public services, focusing on


Analysis showed that EU28 Member States compare well with the 17 non-EU

countries and the very best EU28 countries are at the same or a higher level than the

best global countries. Indeed Denmark was the leading country in the I-DESI index.

Denmark was also the leading country in the EU28 DESI2

. The leading non-EU

country, which came second of all 45 countries studied, was South Korea. In third

place was Finland, which was the second best performing EU28 Member State in the

EU28 DESI. EU28 Member States filled six of the top ten positions for the main IDESI index.

The Connectivity dimension - examining the deployment and take-up of fixed and

mobile broadband - is the area where the EU28 average compares well with non-EU

countries. The strongest areas in this dimension for EU28 Member States are the

broadband coverage and take-up sub-dimension and broadband prices.

EU28 Member States also generally performed better than their 17 global

counterparts in the Citizen Use of the Internet dimension. EU28 Member States

do not significantly out-perform their global counterparts in any of the subdimensions, but they are consistently just ahead of them.

The Digital Single Market Strategy has several economic objectives, including job

creation and economic growth. The Business Technology Integration dimension

looked specifically at the digitisation of businesses. In 2016 the average EU28

Member State performance for this dimension drew level with non-EU countries for

the first time since 2013.

Public Services is the one dimension where EU28 Member States have consistently

performed below their 17 non-EU counterparts.

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