eToro has partnered with the Center for Business and Economic Research (CEBR) to explore the state of digital transformation and technology adoption, surveying 18,000 people in nine European countries; Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom.
The report, eToro’s Digital Transformation Index, provides a snapshot of digital penetration in Europe, evaluating our attitudes to different technologies following a year of accelerated adoption. From Italy, where a high number of ‘digital gatekeepers’ pose a very real risk to innovation in many industries, to Poland, which boasts the highest support for increased digitalisation; the report findings hints at how the adoption of digital technologies could impact each country going forward.
Impact of COVID-19
The study confirms that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across Europe, and more than a third (36%) of survey respondents have increased their use of digital technology outside of work. These behavioural shifts appear to have imparted long-term changes in preferences and habits, with more than a quarter (27%) expecting their use of digital technologies outside of work to be higher after the pandemic than it was before.
Yoni Assia, CEO and Co-founder of eToro, comments: “From work to family, money to media, how we engage with almost everything in our lives has changed this year due to COVID-19. 2020 has been about digital acceleration. The world’s collective foot hit the pedal and we embraced in a few weeks technology that would otherwise have taken a few years to pervade our daily lives.”
A ‘Virtuous Circle’
eToro’s research uncovers an adoption cycle – the more we use digital technologies, the more capable and confident we become using them, and the more digital solutions we in turn come to rely on. Online banking is a good example of a digital technology that is well established in this cycle. It is the technology that Europeans engage with most regularly, with nearly a quarter (23%) using it on an everyday basis and 78% using it at least once a week.
But Europeans are uncomfortable using digital solutions that are not yet well established, and only a minority (44%) of respondents would be happy to carry out a routine doctor’s appointment via video call. The digitalisation of health, then, sits at the beginning of this cycle, and has yet to achieve widespread user confidence.
The future is digital
Clearly, there are some challenges ahead for digitalisation, with levels of support varying from country to country, and sector to sector. The vast majority of those asked would embrace increased digitalisation in lots of parts of the economy, and there is huge support for more digitalisation in the energy and utility (71%), finance (65%), and entertainment (64%) sectors, in particular.
Yoni Assia said: “Our future will be digital, and the vast majority agree that technology will make our lives easier. However, for that digital world to succeed we must not lose sight of the human element at the centre of this transformation. We know that concerns around misinformation and data protection have already prompted action among millennial and gen z cohorts. We know that the risks posed by a digital divide aren’t limited to individuals, but to whole countries. The viability of our digital future therefore relies on our ability to ensure this new world is inclusive, moral and – ultimately – human.”
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