The Digital Century: where is value headed in the digital space?
by Didier Levy
With supporting conditions, Europe can regain a leadership role in this fast-growing ecosystem.
The digital industry has been through a lot of turbulence in the last 15 years, since the Internet bubble burst after the dot-com boom. Customer usage has changed radically, technology has been regularly upgraded and new players have emerged. Some of these have skyrocketed while others have vanished or been reconfigured. Considering the immense changes in how we use technology, we have clearly entered the “digital century.” Now, where is it heading to?

General wisdom suggests that, since the sector was fixed after the 2001 bust and new technologies play an increasing role in everyday life, all parts of the digital ecosystem have grown steadily and will continue to do so. To investigate this, and to contribute to the public debate regarding sectorial policies, Arthur D. Little built the Digital Value Tracker and has updated it annually for the past six years.

In this paper, we share the main findings of our tracker, provide numbers behind general perception and explain how big the digital phenomenon is. In particular, we show that the digital industry is globally pursuing a very robust growth path but that there are massive discrepancies between regions and segments. We also explain that Europe falls in the losing category but argue that it is not too late to change gears and put this region back on track.

Five key findings

From our analysis, which was conducted from 2007 to 2015, Arthur D. Little identified five key findings, some of which confirmed what we already knew and some of which were more unexpected.

Our key findings are as follows:

  1. The digital ecosystem is growing faster than the global economy.
  2. Not all segments of the digital ecosystem have grown since 2007.
  3. Internet and software drive more value.
  4. North America and Asia are diversified and growing fast, while Europe has stayed flat.
  5. Telecom operators are Europe’s digital champions but have delivered flat revenues compared to the rest of the world.