Switzerland – A Digital Innovation Lab In Europe

Switzerland is the ideal place for digital innovations

A survey by Oliver Wyman shows the high internet affinity of the Swiss population. Companies can use the location to drive digital innovations, providing they can succeed in mitigating security concerns.

Life without the internet? An unimaginable concept for many Swiss. Just under two thirds of Swiss respondents say that they cannot go for more than a day without online access, and three quarters spend over two hours a day online outside of work. These are the findings of the “Switzerland’s Digital DNA” study by Oliver Wyman, which is based on a representative survey of 2,100 people.

Nordal Cavadini
Companies can use the high internet affinity of the Swiss to greater effect, to launch new products and services. This could make the country a digital innovation lab in Europe
Nordal Cavadini Partner Oliver Wyman

The authors of the study see the as yet imperfect protection of data privacy as a potential hindrance to Switzerland’s becoming a digital innovation laboratory. One fifth of respondents have fallen victim to online crime. 77 percent of respondents fear growing internet crime, and 68 percent call for more regulation in this area.

The surveyed Swiss are generally very open to digital technologies, with 67 percent calling it a positive influence on their lives. 74 percent expect it to make their job easier, while 57 percent believe that new jobs will be created through digitization, depending on the sector. 66 percent think it will improve education, and 58 predict positive effects on health. In Switzerland, the internet is primarily used for information and communication at present. Personal communication leads with 79 percent, followed by fact-checking at 61 percent.

Added value for customers through company collaboration

Companies can benefit from these positive attitudes and create added value for customers with digital business models. But there is some catching up to do in terms of digital offerings, especially outside the classic online platforms. The experts at Oliver Wyman expect that new alliances will come up, including between companies who are currently competitors.

Nordal Cavadini
Unconventional partnerships will see the light of day more often in the digital age. It would not be surprising to see industrial or service companies collaborate with the public sector
Nordal Cavadini Partner Oliver Wyman

Right now, almost three quarters of respondents are reluctant to give out their personal data. There are stark differences in responses to the question of whom the Swiss will disclose their personal information to. Technology companies and online dealers do worst, with just 26 percent of respondents saying they trust technology companies with their data and 27 percent saying the same with regard to online dealers. By comparison, the figures are 64 percent for doctors, hospitals and health insurers, 62 percent for banks, and a strong 55 percent for universities and research institutions.

Joris D’Incà
Only together can we achieve more credibility. Cantons, towns and companies have a responsibility to set up clear data protection rules. If they don’t do something to address the trust deficit, future growth will be endangered
Joris D’Incà Switzerland Director Oliver Wyman

Data versus lower prices

In general, the Swiss are aware of the risks associated with personal data. Geotagging is an example: 92 percent of respondents are sure that smart phones can store and transfer information on where they are. 79 percent believe that the government can follow internet histories relatively easily and access most personal information, as well as health and financial data. But 78 percent associate digitization with lower prices.

Nordal Cavadini
The Swiss accept the fact that personal data is collected. They welcome the lower prices and personalized services this gives them
Nordal Cavadini Partner Oliver Wyman

About the study

For the “Switzerland’s Digital DNA” study, in February 2017 Oliver Wyman surveyed over 2,100 Swiss (internet users and offliners) in German and French – the two largest national languages – about their attitudes towards digitization. The survey included questions on internet usage, hopes and fears, trust and future changes.