Digital adoption during COVID-19

Cross-country evidence from microdata

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented global economic downturn, affecting productivity, business dynamics, and digital technology adoption. Using a comprehensive commercial database from Spiceworks Ziff Davis, this study analyses the firm-level drivers of digitalisation during the pandemic across 20 European countries. The findings show that a considerable share of firms introduced new digital technologies during the COVID-19 crisis. Notably, firms that were larger, more digitalised, and more productive before the pandemic were more likely to introduce new digital technologies in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, firms with pre-existing complementary technologies had a higher likelihood of adopting digital applications that gained momentum during the pandemic (such as digital commerce, collaborative software, cloud, and analytics). These patterns may increase polarisation among the best-performing firms and the rest of the business population. Public policy can play a key role in fostering an inclusive digital transformation in the post-pandemic era.

Published on April 24, 2024

In series:OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papersview more titles