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Europe's degree of digitization lacks behind the US (Photo: EU)

European consumers are heavily invested in digital technologies, but the continent is far removed from realizing the full potential of digitization.

That is one of the conclusions from a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute, a think tank affiliated with the McKinsey management consultants.

The study found that 83 pc of Europeans have internet in their homes and 76 pc use the internet regularly. But companies were found to be slow in using digital technologies to redefine business processes as well as their work force.

That means Europe is leaving economic potential on the table. "If more is done to adopt, diffuse and use digital, tremendous economic value could be captured," the study said.

McKinsey uses a measurement it calls "digital intensity" to rank countries according to their degree of digitization. By this measure, Europe operates at only about 12 pc of its digital potential, compared with 18 pc for the US. Within Europe, there also are differences: While France stands at 12 pc and Germany at 10 pc, the UK has a digital intensity of 17 pc.

If Europe's digital laggards double their digital intensity, McKinsey says, the continent can add 2.5 trillion euros to its GDP by 2025. In such a scenario, GDP growth would get a 1 pc boost every year for the next decade.