Better use of digital tech could add billions to UK economy

UK could add $57 billion (£38 billion) to its economic output by 2020, by increasing use of digital technologies, a new report finds.

The ‘Digital Density Index’ report, launched today by Accenture, measures the extent to which digital technologies are penetrating the businesses and economies of the world’s leading countries.

A country’s “digital density” is determined by a scorecard comprising over 50 indicators, such as the volume of transactions conducted online, the use of cloud or other technologies to streamline processes, the pervasiveness of technology skills in a company, or an economy’s acceptance of new digitally driven business models.

Globally, the index reveals that the Netherlands have the highest digital density, followed by the USA, Sweden, South Korea, the UK and Finland.

It also shows that the world’s top 10 economies could add $1.36 trillion (approximately £900 billion) to their total economic output by 2020, by increasing use of digital technologies to boost productivity.

The report claims there is a disconnect between a healthy consumer digital economy and the infrastructure that supports it, with relatively poor mobile connectivity, which is one of the country’s biggest weaknesses.

“The UK is second only to Korea for online retail sales (10.4 per cent of total) for example, but London ranks 26th against other European cities in high-speed broadband with 10 million homes and businesses without access to high-speed broadband (House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills)”, it says in the report.

As a solution, businesses are advised to invest more in telecoms, boost the use of digital technologies, and improve mobile connectivity.