What Happened In The Digital Economy In 2015?

Danielle Beurteaux

The digital economy continued to grow in 2015 — although some regions are experiencing a slowdown, while others, where the majority of the population doesn’t have access to the Internet, are playing catch-up. Here are 8 trends that affected digital growth in 2015.

1. Mobile is here

The next wave of the digital economy will be mobile. The countries that are fueling growth have heavy mobile users, and that will drive the digital economy in those areas.

2. Solving the problems of the world

The digital economy is helping to bring people out of poverty by providing access to things like commerce, banking, and communications, providing a digital infrastructure that most developing countries aren’t providing the old-fashioned way, with banks and telecommunications. It’s also enabling an easy and efficient knowledge stream between those with the skills and resources to help and those who need help.

3. E-commerce unicorn

E-commerce is growing everywhere, and Shopify is a small-business e-commerce platform that’s part of that growth. After filing its IPO last spring, the company sold 7.7 million shares and was valued at $1.27 billion. Unicorn status: official.

4. It’s changing jobs

According to recent research, the digital economy is creating jobs, growth, and wealth for some—and leaving others behind.

5. So many ways to pay…

Digital wallets, Bitcoin….so many new ways to pay became easier to use and more accessible. But 2015 wasn’t the year of mass adoption.

6. The “sharing economy” hit some roadbumps

Lawsuits and questions about the structure of the on-demand economy has led to a deeper discussion about workers’ rights, the future of work, and what and how much regulation the future economy needs.

7. Blocking the ad blockers

Ad blocking got a spotlight when Apple allowed ad blocking on its then-latest iOS release last fall. Some websites cried foul, pointing out the loss of ad revenue that keeps them afloat. One ad blocking app developer even pulled his best-selling product from the Apple store because it “didn’t feel good,” as he explained in a blog post.

8. Concerns about privacy

Hacking, data breaches, and questions about who is gathering what data and for what purpose brought questions about privacy into the spotlight. With Europe moving to strengthen privacy regulations, a landmark lawsuit, and surveys pointing to the increasing concerns about how personal information is used, privacy was a big topic in 2015.

Want more future-focused insights on the digital economy? See 6 Ways The Digital Economy Is Reshaping The Future Of Work.


Danielle Beurteaux

About Danielle Beurteaux

Danielle Beurteaux is a New York–based writer who covers business, technology, and philanthropy. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and on Popular Mechanics, CNN, and Institutional Investor's Alpha, among other outlets.