Digital Evolution Index

By The Fletcher School at Tufts University in collaboration with
MasterCard and DataCash.

Discover the markets that are most prepared for the planet’s next billion Internet users by tracking the four drivers of the digital economy.

The four drivers of the digital economy; Demand, Supply, Institutions and Innovation

Getting ready for the next billion consumers.

2.9 billion global internet users. And counting.

The simple truth is internet usage continues to grow, year over year. To take advantage, you’ll need to know where to find the new users. The short answer: immediate growth will come from developing countries. As a matter of fact, 60 percent of this group — being referred to globally as “the next billion users” — will come from populations that are not digitally connected today.

Which countries are moving the fastest toward digital readiness?

Exactly where the next billion users come from will depend heavily on which individual countries will truly be ready for internet usage. They need to have infrastructures and policies in place to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities the growing digital world presents to them. The secret to success is knowing where each individual country stands in its journey from developing, to high-speed to evolved.

Measuring the trajectory of progress.

This special site, The Digital Evolution Index, has been created by MasterCard Global Insights and The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Its purpose is to map countries’ journeys, measure the rate of change in digital evolution across the globe, and provide actionable, data-informed insights for your business.

Defining a country’s digital marketing conditions.

Our data and insights are calculated and measured utilizing four drivers.

Digital Economy Driver - Demand

Demand: covers consumer income and demographics as well as internet usage.

Digital Economy Driver - Supply

Supply: focuses on technology and infrastructure and whether or not they can support digital commerce and transactions.

Digital Economy Driver - Institutions

Institutions: accounts for government policy and access to trade.

Digital Economy Driver - Innovation

Innovation: rates the environment for creating startups and the overall competitive landscape.

The combination of the four provide an index or rating of a particular country's readiness for digital growth.

The Digital Evolution Index

Index score legend

A report in the making
since 2008.

Although The Digital Evolution Index is being introduced for the first time, it has been years in the making. We’ve been collecting, researching and translating data since 2008 to provide the best view possible of countries and their changes digitally.

The better the data, the better the outcome.

We dug in and culled available data for a particular year, instead of using old or outdated data points. We also sought raw data where possible, avoiding processed data, to maintain a constant, high threshold for the integrity of the outcomes. We mined from the best publicly available data, then established partnerships with respected sources like EMPEA and Dow Jones VentureSource. Bottom line, we do everything in our power to ensure that the information this index is leveraging is consistently robust across all countries listed.

Categorizing countries by movement over time.

Our intensive data collection allows us to group countries into four categories by measuring each one’s change in scores over time.

Stand Out: These countries historically achieve high levels of digital transactions and continue to maintain that level.

Watch Out: The common thread among these countries is that they have both significant opportunities and challenges. Their economies function well in spite of limitations.

Break Out: Primarily, these are developing countries that have low but growing scores. While they are attractive to investors because of rapid improvement, they’re also riskier.

Stall Out: Typically, this group has a history of strong growth, but it’s no longer being achieved. Because of various factors, these countries are at risk of slipping in their development.


- 70
- 60
- 50
- 40
- 30
- 20
Fletcher-MasterCard Digital Readiness Index Score (Out of 100)
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Evolution Within Digital Ecosystem, 2008-2013 (Score from -10 to 10)

Countries take unique paths through digital evolution.

Research from The Digital Evolution Index has revealed many interesting facts, creating a picture of distinct national personalities with different states of supply, demand and commerce-ready policies. Additionally, we’ve found no grand pattern of linearity on the digital evolution journey, where a country might move from being a Watch Out nation to a Stall Out nation after a time as a Stand Out Nation.

Turning relevant data into usable trajectories.

The solid trends in the Index are found in movement of countries over time. For example, the trajectories of Malaysia, China, Chile, South Africa and other Break Out nations strongly indicate they’re prime candidates for becoming Stand Out nations in the near future.

Helping to see beyond the obvious.

Other trends can help identify vibrant new digital marketplaces in countries that, more often than not, don’t make multinational short lists of places to invest. These trends can reveal hybrid solutions like 1) cash on delivery where electronic payments are thin; 2) a tablet-toting sales force where access is patchy; and 3), delivery personnel doubling as sales people making customer contact at the doorstep. Examples like these are trends that shouldn’t be ignored — even though they don’t necessarily fit the traditional parameters.

So where are the next billion consumers? Check out our Country List and see for yourself.

Country List


Country Rank Index Score Change since 2008 Index Groupings Supply Demand Institutional Innovation

This index is designed to deliver actionable insights.

The The Digital Evolution Index is a useful, relevant tool for you because it helps reveal underlying factors such as latent demand that are shaping digital commerce dimensions. The Index provides insights that aid you in taking action based on strong, consistent, sensible methodology.

Answering four questions through our four drivers.

We based our methodology on the fact that we had to provide answers to four key questions in order for the Index to be valid.

1) How developed is digital and business infrastructure?

2) Are consumers willing and able to transact in the digital environment?

3) Are governments and institutions facilitating the creation of digital ecosystems?

4) What is the extent of innovation happening in the digital commerce realm?

Finding these answers for each country in the Index correlated directly with our four drivers, described earlier: 1) Supply; 2) Demand; 3) Institutional; 4) Innovation.

Measuring the progress of digital evolution.

Utilizing the drivers as our foundation, the team at The Fletcher School built an analytical framework with datasets from public and private sources to help recognize patterns and make sense of the evolving global digital landscape. Analysis from this framework over multiple years allows for pattern recognition based on digital evolution progress and provides insights into what the digital future of each country in the Index could look like.

Delivering useful data through methodology.

Specifically, the methodology for The Digital Evolution Index measures the current ability of countries to deliver on consumer demand and business supply capabilities, in combination with governmental policy and climate for innovation — the four drivers. In addition to the current state, the trajectory of the pillars is also measured over time, beginning with 2008. The Index then layers a quadrant matrix to visualize the trajectory of a particular country.

In the end, a report you can generate not only provides an overview of how an individual country is progressing, but also a roadmap to the key challenges it’s facing and guidance for how to overcome them.


Principal Investigators The Fletcher School at Tufts University

Sponsors MasterCard DataCase - A MasterCard Company

Data Partners EMPEA - Emerging Markets Private Equity Association VentureSource - Dow Jones

Other Index Data Sources



Mobile Marketing Association


World Bank


World Economic Forum

IMF Financial Access Survey

Euromonitor, Wikimedia

Freedom House

Other Country Profile Data Sources

Economist Intelligence Unit (Australia, Chile, Denmark)

Australian National Bank

Statistics Canada

LatinLink website (Chile, Colombia)

World Economic Forum, Global Information Technology Report

Reuters Articles (Hungary, Slovakia)

Global World Index (Saudi Arabia)

Business Insider Articles (Turkey)


2013 index score


Country rank










(2013 index driver scores out of 100)

More Info


Percent of urban population:


FDI as % GDP:



1.3 million

Smartphone user:


GDP per capita:

US $18,127

Internet users:


2013 country rank

2013 index score

2013 driver index score





Index groupings Stand out
Country insights

Country index score
'08 '09 '10 '11 '12 '13

Country 13.48

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