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Single Market Scoreboard

Digital transition

Digital transition and the single market – why does it matter?

Beyond the free movement of goods, services, people and capital, the single market framework aims to achieve clear objectives for the digital transition of the EU economy and society. The indicators in this section measure the performance of the single market in selected areas relevant to this transition.

Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) tracks progress on EU countries’ digital performance by showing the trend in the overall indicator and its main dimensions: human capital, connectivity, integration of digital technologies, and digital public services.

It is expressed as an index weighted score ranging from 0 (lowest performance) to 100 (highest performance). The chart shows the DESI values for 2022. In the 2023 State of the Digital Decade Report, the aggregated values of the DESI index have not been published.

The 2022 DESI suggests that the digital transition is progressing in all dimensions. The connectivity dimension saw the biggest growth.

Source: European Commission, DESI

Share of businesses with online sales across EU borders

This indicator measures the share of businesses that made electronic sales to other EU countries or the rest of the world. It refers to all manufacturing and services sectors, excluding the financial sector and agriculture.

The indicator covers businesses with at least 10 employees or self-employed people, therefore excluding micro-enterprises. It distinguishes between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large businesses. It also distinguishes between sales made to other EU countries (intra-EU) and sales made to the rest of the world (extra-EU).

Higher values suggest a higher degree of internationalisation supported by digital tools.

Sales taken into account are those made during the previous calendar year, via any computer network.  This includes websites, electronic data interchange systems and other means of electronic data transfer. It excludes manually typed emails.

The indicator shows that the share of businesses trading online across borders remained broadly stable in 2021 and 2020, respectively. However, SMEs still lag behind large businesses, particularly in e-commerce.

Source: Eurostat, European Union survey on ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises, 2013-2021. Data are not available for all years.


Digital intensity in SMEs

This indicator measures the share of SMEs with at least a basic level of digital intensity.

The digital intensity score is based on counting how many out of 12 selected technologies are used by businesses. A basic level requires a business to use at least four technologies. The set of technologies considered by the indicator can vary between different survey years, depending on the questions included in the survey (see DII v1 v2 v3 v4 2015-2023.xlsx (

In 2022, the share of SMEs with at least a basic level of digital intensity in EU countries ranged between 41.2% and 89.5%, with an EU average of 69.1%. Around 60% of EU countries are below the EU average. The current EU average is still far from the 2030 EU target of 90%, which is set in the Digital Decade policy Programme.

Source: Eurostat, see also:

Adoption of digital technologies by companies

This indicator measures the degree of companies’ adoption of digital technologies: big data, cloud and artificial intelligence (AI).

The big data series is the percentage of businesses analysing big data from any data source. The cloud series measures the percentage of businesses purchasing at least one of the following cloud computing services: hosting a database, accounting software applications, customer relationship management software, computing power. The AI series measures the percentage of businesses, employing 10 or more people, using at least one AI technology. The indicator is calculated for all businesses in manufacturing and service sectors, excluding the financial sector.

The share of EU businesses that have adopted digital technologies was 14% for big data (2020), 34% for cloud (2021) and 8% for AI (2021.).

The Digital Decade policy programme set a common target for these three technologies: at least 75% of EU businesses are expected to take up one or more of them by 2030. The chart shows that just three of the 27 EU countries are close to the target, whereas most countries score very low for all three technologies.

Source: Eurostat

ICT specialists (average of female and male, % of employment)

This indicator measures the share of employed ICT specialists out of total employment. The definition of ICT specialists is based on the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08) and includes ICT service managers, ICT professionals, ICT technicians, ICT installers and servicers.

In 2022, the percentage of ICT specialists employed in EU countries was between 2.5% and 8.6%, with an EU average of 4.60%. Around 56% of EU countries are below the EU average. The indicator shows a positive trend with constant growth in recent years. However, the target for ICT specialists to make up 10% of total employment (20 million ICT specialists in absolute terms) seems unlikely to be met on current trends.

Source: Eurostat, Table isoc_sks_itspt: ICT specialists - total

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