Internet matters: The transforming power of the Internet economy in Belgium
The Internet is now a global force, and Belgian companies have clearly acknowledged its power. But what does the Internet really contribute to the Belgian economy? The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)—an independent business and economics research arm within McKinsey—conducted a study in the summer of 2011 to gain a better understanding of the Internet’s contribution to growth and to employment in the Belgian economy, as well as its benefits at the corporate level.
Belgium’s digital economy is well established and has been the subject of much research. Paradoxically, however, little is known about the Internet’s contribution to corporate or macroeconomic growth in Belgium, or its role in stimulating employment. To gain clarity on these issues, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)—an independent business and economics research arm within McKinsey—conducted a study in the summer of 2011 that focused on the use and benefit of Internet technologies at more than 500 companies throughout Belgium.
The study’s results were revealing. On a macroeconomic level, the Internet contributed about 25 percent to growth in GDP over the last three years, with most benefits resulting from an increase in exports. During the same period, the Internet contributed about 15 percent to growth in employment. At the corporate level, the study demonstrated that companies that used Internet technologies intensely and effectively were much more likely than others to be part of an elite group of hyper-performing businesses. Despite these impressive findings, the study also found that few Belgian companies are using Internet technologies to their full potential. To remedy this problem, they should re-examine their Internet skills and investments, prioritizing the development of digital transformation plans. Public authorities must also stimulate the adoption and the efficient use of the Internet within the economy.
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