Europe divisions show over digital revolution

A clear digital hierarchy has emerged in Europe, according to the first Digital Living Index (DLI) report, published last week by Jupiter Research.

It reveals that while digital sophistication and technology are increasingly important to Europe’s consumers, European countries are not only adopting digital technology at different rates, but they are doing so in different ways – a fact that has “profound implications” for their future consumer lifestyle and for companies looking to conquer Europe’s digital space.

The DLI quantifies the relative degrees of digital sophistication of 17 Western European countries. Scoring each country across 48 variables of digital consumption (with 100 equal being to the European average), the DLI identifies six final categories of digital sophistication. These are defined as internet access adoption; television adoption; wireless and mobile; online advertising and commerce; online activity; and use of digital devices.

Sweden has the highest DLI score (132) followed by Denmark (123) and Norway (114), driven by widespread internet penetration, high broadband adoption, strong internet commerce and advertising trends, as well as mature internet surfing habits. Of the northern European markets, the UK scores the highest (113) though its rank is elevated by strong TV adoption. Germany and France both sit close to the European average each with a DLI score of 101, but southern Europe lags significantly behind.

However, Spain and Italy should experience dynamic growth, driven by large populations, the continuation of recent adoption trends and ongoing infrastructure investment.

Lead author of the report Mark Mulligan explains: “Europe’s constituent counties may be getting closer together economically, but the lifestyle of its inhabitants remains as diverse as ever. Nowhere is this clearer than in the consumption of digital technology. The DLI shows that Europe’s digital economy is evolving at markedly different rates.”

Based on the DLI, Jupiter has identified the key themes which will influence Europe’s digital growth in 2004. Significant areas of predicted growth include the introduction of tailored entry-level broadband products to tempt price-sensitive dial-up laggards, and new TV delivered via broadband services in France, Germany and Italy to spur digital TV adoption.

Predicted areas of slower growth include digital convergence of devices and online content, where internet users will continue to receive content free.

editor dwek@journalist.co.uk

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