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UK consumers most digitally savvy in Europe

3 January 2021

Consumers in the UK are the most digitally savvy in Europe, according to new research from investment platform eToro and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

The analysis, which includes a survey of more than 18,000 European consumers, showed the UK is the number one user of tech in Europe, coming out on top for card payments and use of digital education platforms. It scored third highest for online banking, with 79% of Brits using it at least once a week, and second highest for accessing health information online. Meanwhile, 65% of those surveyed said they would be happy to bank or invest online rather than by phone or in person.

The research also found that the pandemic had accelerated digital transformation across Europe, with more than a third (36%) of people having increased their use of digital technology outside of work and more than a quarter (27%) expecting to use technology more after than the pandemic than before.

Assia added: “From work to family, money to media, how we engage with almost everything in our lives has changed this year due to COVID-19. 2020 has been about digital acceleration. The world’s collective foot hit the pedal and we embraced in a few weeks technology that would otherwise have taken a few years to pervade our daily lives.”

Pace of digitalisation

However, the research found that less than half (46%) of Brits are comfortable with the pace at which digital technologies are spreading in the UK, compared with 56% of Europeans. Nearly a quarter (24%) of people in the UK would resist the expansion of further digitalisation in the workplace.

Yoni Assia, CEO and co-founder, e-Toro, says: “While the UK tops the table for digital adoption, our study reveals very real concerns among Brits about the pace of digital transformation which suggests more needs to be done to increase buy-in for technological change.”

While just over half (51%) of Europeans agree that technology has made life easier, two in five believe that technology is spreading too quickly while nearly the same number (39%) feel the pace of change is overwhelming.

Cybercrime

Cybercrime has also become a key concern, with 97% of those surveyed expressing some concern about the risks of cybercrime as more data and activities are moved online. A similar proportion (95%) also said they are concerned about the growing digital divide as people without access to digital technologies are left behind.

Assia added: “Our future will be digital, and the vast majority agree that technology will make our lives easier. However, for that digital world to succeed we must not lose sight of the human element at the centre of this transformation. We know that the risks posed by a digital divide aren’t limited to individuals, but to whole countries. The viability of our digital future therefore relies on our ability to ensure this new world is inclusive, moral and – ultimately – human.”

Pablo Shah, managing economist, the Centre for Economics and Business Research, commented: “Digital transformation will underpin much of Europe’s economic progress in the 2020s.  This research reveals that levels of digital penetration and engagement vary significantly across Europe. However, while some countries, such as Romania, are poised to close the digital divide, more lukewarm support for digitalisation in countries like the UK may well cause these countries to fall behind their European peers in the years ahead.”

Professional Paraplanner