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Digital

Buzzword “Digital“: Global interconnection, dramatically increased computing power and the spread of portable multi-purpose mini-computers, the smartphone, over the last years have initiated far-reaching societal and economic changes. The topic thus surged to the top of the agenda in business, politics, media and research. The feedback of technological developments to socioeconomic processes is certainly not new but rather on the contrary runs like a thread through human history. However, the potential implications of current rapid progress in particular in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics together with the proliferation of platform- and data-based business models are so far-reaching that both optimists and pessimists offer wild speculations on how this could influence the societies and economies of tomorrow. But what will turn out to be lasting developments, short-lived hypes or simple exaggerations?

14 Documents
February 19, 2018
Opinions differ when it comes to bitcoin. Discussions are triggered largely by bitcoin’s spectacular price increasess and are not very informed or nuanced. In this paper we focus on several standard claims, which we will put into context and, if necessary, rectify. This will hopefully help our readers to familiarise themselves with the topic. [more]
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February 15, 2018
Analyst:
The rise of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and the decline in cash payments are the background for a new concept: digital cash issued by central banks. An old academic debate about who creates money and how is resurfacing, but what about the user’s perspective? Why would we use crypto euros? Such digital cash would compete against bank deposits, physical cash and private cryptocurrencies to win over consumers in the areas of payments and savings. [more]
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February 9, 2018
Opinions differ when it comes to bitcoin. Discussions are triggered largely by bitcoin’s spectacular price increasess and are not very informed or nuanced. In this paper we focus on several standard claims, which we will put into context and, if necessary, rectify. This will hopefully help our readers to familiarise themselves with the topic. [more]
3
October 2, 2017
Region:
Analyst:
The German retail sector has visibly lifted its sales forecast for 2017, up from 2% to 3%. The key driver is online retail, along with the currently very consumer-friendly economic environment in Germany, which strengthens consumers‘ purchasing power. The digitisation of the retail sector has in many respects become a challenge for the established stationary stores. But at the same time, it creates new opportunities for retailers to respond to changing consumer demands. The supermarket is, per se, not necessarily the loser, as is illustrated by the current success of multi-channel retail, which allows greater flexibility for the customers, thereby creating an entirely new shopping experience. [more]
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August 22, 2017
Region:
Analyst:
In Germany, the number of successful technology start-ups with a novel product is lagging behind in an international context. Considering the key role of start-ups in innovative entrepreneurship and their contribution to the real economy, reasons and key points of action to increase start-up activity should be identified. Excessive red-tape is a major hindrance and mainstream political parties are aiming to reduce excessive bureaucracy in start-up creation. Improved access to bank lending and venture capital investments are necessary to broaden post-launch funding alternatives. Brexit could be boon especially for the start-up scene in Berlin if relocation formalities are lowered. Enhancing a “can-do” culture and taking entrepreneurship among immigrants into account in policymaking have paramount importance, too. The Nordic start-up ecosystem provides important takeaways to boost start-up creation. [more]
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August 10, 2017
Analyst:
Robo-advisors are online investment platforms that use computer algorithms to manage client portfolios and are thus part of the FinTech universe. With their user-friendly, automated and low-cost services, robo-advisors pose a challenge to traditional financial advisory services and are growing fast. Online client onboarding is the most crucial step in this process, relying on questionnaires to figure out clients' preferences. Following a conservative approach in their asset selection, robo-advisors mainly invest in ETFs. Portfolio allocation is done via mean-variance optimisation and threshold-based rebalancing is utilised to maintain targeted asset weights. Wealthier and more educated clients are joining millennials as robo-advisory clients. Fees are considerably higher in the EU than in the US where robo-advisors’ AuM are much larger. Robo-advisors can contribute to financial inclusion, while their long-term success relies on a high degree of accuracy and suitability for clients. [more]
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July 10, 2017
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Analyst:
The German mechanical engineering sector recently tripled its growth forecast for 2017, from 1% to 3% (both in real terms). Robotics and automation is an important growth driver; this sub-segment is likely to increase output by 7%, i.e. double the rate of the segment as a whole. The mega issue “Industry 4.0” plays a key role for this development. As this trend is gaining importance both in Germany and around the world, the medium-term outlook for the sub-segment remains excellent as well. [more]
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July 3, 2017
Region:
Analyst:
The traditional automobile industry and companies that, in the past, had no involvement in the sector, are working hard to create software solutions, driver assistance systems and other technologies that will make networked, autonomous, traffic jam and accident-free driving possible. That means the “digital car” in its ideal form is no longer a utopian vision for the future, but is instead gradually taking shape. However, the path to the digital car will be more of an evolution than a revolution. That is the result of factors on both the supply and demand side. They include the considerable development times in the industry and the longevity of its products, cars. Consumer preferences, which have been shaped over decades, are also unlikely to change over night. It will take several decades for digital cars to make up a significant proportion of cars on the road – that is unlikely to happen before 2040. [more]
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February 14, 2017
Region:
Analyst:
In 2016, electric cars and hybrids represented only 1.8% of all new passenger car registrations in Germany. It therefore remains a niche market – despite the introduction of subsidies last year. The average car buyer steers clear of electric vehicles because of high purchase costs, uncertainty about resale value and battery life, limited range, a lack of charging stations and lengthy charging times. This reluctance to buy presents the automotive industry and the state with a dilemma: strict CO2 limits for new vehicles mean that the industry has to invest heavily in electric-car technology, but it cannot expect an equivalent payback in terms of revenue in the foreseeable future. For the state, it can come down to a straight choice between granting expensive subsidies or failing to reach climate change targets. [more]
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November 23, 2016
Analyst:
Despite a growing role of electronic payments, demand for cash is on the rise in Europe. Euro cash in circulation has increased to EUR 1.1 trillion, three times as much as in 2003. Cash limits the power of monetary authorities, provides data protection and can therefore act as a guarantor of civil liberties. On the other hand, it is often associated with a stronger shadow economy, even though the shift towards a cashless society seems to trigger higher levels of card fraud. [more]
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