4. Conclusions

Catalonia maintains the fifth position of digitalisation in its economy and society, already achieved in DESI 2019, this year with 64.75%. This outstanding position is based, especially, on Connectivity, Human Capital and Digital Public Services. It is located very close to the Nordic group made up of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands, which continue to lead the digitisation of the economy and society in Europe. Analysing performance on a whole, based on the DESI index, shows that Catalonia continues to advance with development above the European average in all dimensions, consequently consolidating its digital strength.

Catalonia has improved in all dimensions, although this increase doesn’t always translate into getting a better relative position overall of the EU-28 states. It continues to lead the Connectivity dimension and has advanced in positions in Human Capital, Use of Internet Services, and Digital Public Services. In Integration of Digital Technology in companies, on the other hand, despite having improved its result, it has gone back one position in relation to the EU-28.

Connectivity is the strong point and basis of digitalisation in Catalonia, especially in terms of fixed broadband take-up and coverage. In Mobile broadband, there is still room for improvement, as well as in the market access prices.

As for Human Capital, both general digital skills and those relative to ICT people continue to be above the overall European average. Of particular note is the improvement achieved in Software skills by the citizenry, while the level of ICT specialists present in the labor market shows a very slight decrease.

Regarding the Use of Internet Services by people, Catalonia continues to show very good results, both in the Internet use and in the Activities that are done online. However, in relation to Transactions (online banking, and online shopping and selling), the results are slightly below the EU-28 average.

The Integration of Digital Technology in companies, despite having improved respect 2019, continues to offer opportunities for improvement especially with regard to e-Commerce and its turnover. Catalan companies show a good level of digitisation, although this does not correspond with the results of online sales by SMEs.

On the other hand, the degree of digitalisation of the Public Administration in Catalonia continues to move forward at a good pace, especially considering that it was already coming from a strong position. It has shown very positive results above the European average in the set of indicators.

In short, the analysis of the results of DESI 2020 shows that Catalonia not only maintains an outstanding level of digitalisation, but is making adequate progress in the digital transformation of society and the economy.

While most indicators show clear signs of strength, maintaining or improving with respect to DESI 2019, it is important to pay attention to those that still have room for improvement in order to consolidate Catalonia’s leadership role in a digital Europe.

Public policy efforts for the country's digital transformation, understood as a lever for the competitiveness of the business fabric and the territory as a whole, should be reflected in the e-Commerce of the SMEs and in ICT employment, as well as in the digital skills of citizens and in the activities and transactions it does online. In this sense, the DESI 2021 -which will work with data from 2020 and will therefore correspond to the post-COVID scenario will truly reveal advances in the model of Catalonia and its impact on Catalan society and the economy.