Digital Landscape: Finding Growth Opportunities in the Developed World

March 2017

Developed nations account for a major share of global digital consumption helped by network investments and tech-savvy consumers. Countries such as the US and South Korea are the leaders in digital connectivity. However, economic turmoil over the past few years has impeded digital development in key markets. As economic recovery takes hold, developed markets will provide opportunities in 5G and Internet of Things (IoT). Ageing populations and online privacy pose challenges for faster digital upt

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South Korea and the US lead the developed world in digital connectivity

Out of 15 developed markets covered in this briefing, South Korea and the US stand out in terms of their digital infrastructure and penetration of telecom services. While both high-speed mobile and fixed broadband are nearly ubiquitous in South Korea, the US is particularly strong in mobile connectivity which has fuelled fast growth in digital commerce.

Spain and Italy will remain digital laggards even after the developed world’s economic recovery

The developed world has suffered a prolonged period of economic uncertainty. Spain and Italy were the hardest hit by the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis and this led to a sharp fall in digital investments and consumption. Both countries figured at the bottom of the Digital Connectivity Index in 2015 and their ranks will remain the same through to 2020 despite faster economic growth.

Digital commerce and IoT provide lucrative growth opportunities

A number of developed markets, notably South Korea and the US, are investing to build an Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem with the help of smartphones and other connected devices. Moreover, digital commerce, both remote and proximity, provide immense growth avenues in developed markets.

The US and Israel are the markets to watch out in terms of growth potential

The US will remain one of the most important digital growth drivers in the developed world because of its size and focus on fixed broadband connectivity. Fibre optics and 4G LTE will fuel growth in Israel. Australia and Germany are the other important markets investors should focus on.

Ageing population and online privacy concerns pose challenges for digital uptake in developed nations

Despite the digital growth opportunities offered by developed markets, there remain certain key challenges. Across markets, the population is ageing and online privacy concerns pose challenges for faster uptake of advanced digital services. Saturation of the devices market is another challenge businesses are grappling with.


Scope of the Digital Consumer
Key findings

Developed World Aims for Digital Recovery

Finding digital opportunities in the developed world
South Korea is the most connected nation in the world
US is a market leader in terms overall communications spend
Developed world’s digital development hurt by economic problems
Economic struggles in Spain and Italy affected connectivity
Projected economic recovery will enhance digital consumption

Major Developed Markets to Watch

Australia’s strong mobile market masks fixed broadband issues
Advanced Danish telecom faces market saturation, weak economy
Fibre optics investment fuels French digital development
Germans focus on greater broadband transparency
Fibre optics and 4G provide immense opportunities in Israel
Japanese operators innovate amidst economic uncertainty
Competition is the bedrock of Singapore’s digital leadership
South Korea aims for faster deployment of 5G
Competition drives Swiss fixed-broadband leadership
UK digital landscape relies on next-generation services for growth
The US leads the developed world in cellular connectivity

Digital Prospects for Major Developed Markets

Major challenges holding back digital development
Challenges: Digital divide in the developed world
Challenges: Developed markets face great device saturation
Challenges: Online privacy concerns hinder digital connectivity
Challenges: Ageing population
Opportunities afforded by digital development in these markets
Major developed markets with the greatest opportunity for investors


Methodology for the Digital Consumer Index (1)
Methodology for the Digital Consumer Index (2)
2016 Digital Connectivity Index (1)
2016 Digital Connectivity Index (2)
2016 Digital Connectivity Index (3)
2016 Digital Connectivity Index (4)
Data parameters and report definitions (1)
Data parameters and report definitions (2)


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