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Digital Economic Opportunity in Spain

How Digitalization may boost the Spanish Economy


We live in an era of constant change, in which the Digital Disruption is profoundly changing the way we live, work, and relate to one another. This transformation is delivering immense benefits for businesses, consumers, society and environment, yet there are still challenges and threats that must be addressed. In the face of this massive transformation, MWCB and Accenture Strategy have aligned their know-how and efforts to develop this study with two main objectives:

  • Determine the impact of the Digital Transformation acceleration in Spain.

  • Create awareness of the urgent need of this acceleration among all the stakeholders involved.

One of the most relevant effects of the digitalization is the acceleration of the economy leveraging the latest technologies, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, IOT, mobility and cloud computing. In the face of this scenario, Accenture and Oxford Economics developed the Digital Economic Opportunity (DEO) index to measure the digitalization and the digital opportunity within an economy.

We have interviewed more than 25 Digital Leaders across the most representative sectors of the economy to get their vision about the digital trends, challenges and transformation pace in Spain.

Not surprisingly, we have found many common answers across all our questions regardless the sector. Leaders see a profound change in human habits and behaviours driven by new technologies that is forcing them to evolve their business models and the way they relate with their customers and employees.

We also found some technologies impacting all sectors; Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, mobility and cloud computing are top-of-mind trends when talking about the digital transformation.

Leaders know intuitively that Digital Transformation in Spain is noticeably delayed compared to reference countries such as USA, but key challenges depend on each company’s context. Organizational resistance, limited investment, weak innovative ecosystems, regulatory frameworks and the pull of legacy businesses and technologies are amongst the most common challenges to accelerate digitalization.




The Digital Transformation has a multiplier effect on the GDP and Spain has the opportunity to drive incremental USD 48.500 Mio by 2021

Digital Contribution
to GDP

Spain shows one of the lowest digital contributions to GDP (20%) amongst countries under analysis, far from Digital leaders such as UK or USA (both above 30%)

35 pts.
DEO score

Spain ranks 11th out of 14 in its DEO score (35), which reflects a lower economic growth opportunity leveraging on current digital assets comparing to other countries on scope


in 2014-2016

The Digital Economic Opportunity (DEO) in Spain has decreased during 2014-2016, reflecting a lower digital economic growth than the peer group

in GDP by 2021

The acceleration of the Digital Transformation can drive additional USD 48.500 million in GDP by 2021 through the optimal combination of DEO levers, focusing on Technology, then Skills and, finally, on Accelerators


lead the

Spanish industries present significant differences in their DEOI scores, where “Business Services” industry is the best positioned compared to the European peers (rank 6th out of 9)

Spanish Digital Economy has a long road ahead to close the gap with Digital Leaders such as United States or United Kingdom, meaning that an acceleration of the Digital Transformation is needed

Digital Contributions to GDP (2016 and 2021)

  • Spain ranks amongst the countries with lower digital contribution to GDP (20%)

  • Digital leaders’ digital contribution is nearly at 35% of GDP

  • The country with the lowest digital contribution is China (11%)

  • All analyzed countries are expected to grow in their digital share of GDP, with an average expected increase of 250 bps till 2021

  • Spain’s digital contribution will hit 22% by 2021 (+252 bps, aligned with the average)

Low DEO in Spain reflects a lower economic growth opportunity leveraging on current digital assets comparing to other countries on scope

2016 DEO

  • Spain ranks 11th out of 14 countries in DEO score.

  • Spanish score is approximately half the DEO of Digital Leaders such as USA and UK.

  • Spanish DEO is 15 points below European’s average (49.65)


We consider 5 key guidelines to accelerate the Digital Transformation: Leadership, Digital Strategy, Investment & Execution, Digital Talent & Organization and Government Support.

Digital Levers

Although there are many initiatives to be launched to accelerate the Digital Transformation across the 5 pillars, we have selected those that impact the most in the causes of the digitalization delay in Spain for each digital lever:

Digital Skills
We suggest three key initiatives to boost the digitalization of skills in Spain: acceleration of the reskilling of people, redesign work to unlock human potential and strengthen the talent pipeline.

Digital Technologies
Strengthening technology infrastructure and building new ecosystems are the two core initiatives we recommend to accelerate the roll out of Digital Technologies across Spanish companies.

Digital Accelerators
Public sector and institutions can boost Digital Transformation by increasing the incentives (e. g. tax deductions), ensuring an appropriate regulation to foster investments and developing an educational system adapted to new digital needs.


As the Digital Transformation spans far beyond cutting-edge technologies, our methodology structures the analysis through 3 levers:

  • Digital Skills measure the digital nature of occupations and the abilities and knowledge required to perform specific jobs.

  • Digital Technologies measure the productive assets available to deliver the transformation (hardware, software and communications equipment).

  • Digital Accelerators measure the environmental, cultural and behavioural aspects of the digital components of the economy.



We have interviewed more than 25 Digital Leaders across the most representative sectors of the economy to get their vision about the digital trends, challenges and transformation pace in Spain: