“It comes as no surprise that the UAE, which enjoys a high GDP per capita and currently has approximately 9 million internet users — and one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world — leads the Middle East when it comes to the maturity of its internet economy,” said Hermann Riedl, Partner and Managing Director at BCG Middle East.
The report said that Denmark with a score of 213 tops the list, followed by Luxembourg and Sweden.
Denmark emerged as the leading overall internet economy, supplanting South Korea, which fell three spots. South Korea is now bracketed between Luxembourg and Sweden and the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK
BCG’s 2015 e-Intensity Index measures the maturity of 85 internet economies based on three core components — enablement, engagement, and expenditure — including all 28 members of the EU, most of Latin America and Asia, and 14 African countries.
The study provides a detailed overview of the depth and reach of digital activity across these nations as well as gauges each respective country’s supply of internet infrastructure and demand for and use of internet services.
Since the inaugural edition in 2011, BCG has published an e-Intensity Index every year except for 2014.
Riedl said that the figures further indicate that the UAE has all the essential elements of a thriving internet economy — one powered by a comprehensive e-infrastructure, an established digital marketplace, high levels of internet engagement, and wide access to technological innovations.
“The UAE’s e-Intensity Index ranking demonstrates that the country stands at the forefront of the ‘Internet of Things’ revolution,” he said.
In recent years, he said that the UAE has continued to further advance its ‘Smart City’ agenda. And seamless, easy connectivity — between people, governments, businesses, and communities — is at the crux of any ‘Smart City’ initiative.
Still, today, in the UAE, the internet space is still “rife with opportunity for growth”.
To maintain a solid e-Intensity Index ranking and a sustainable competitive advantage, the country will therefore have to “boost its e-commerce prowess, fine-tune its innovation ecosystem, and keep delivering cutting-edge connectivity solutions. And this in turn will create positive ripple effects throughout the UAE’s entire economy,” he said.
As one might expect, wealthy nations from northern Europe dominate the top of the index.
“More intriguing, however, are the economies that are performing better than their economic profiles would suggest,” concluded Riedl. “Many of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe — Latvia, Estonia, Poland, and Lithuania for example — fall into that category when e-Intensity is compared with per capita GDP on the basis of purchasing-power parity. Many of the Latin American economies, on the other hand, are underperforming.”