From the Internet bubble to COVID-19: the impact of crises on digital services

From the Internet bubble to COVID-19: the impact of crises on digital services

This IDATE DigiWorld report explores how telecommunications and Internet services have been affected by the biggest economic and financial crises of recent times – from the Internet bubble for the telecoms sector and the subprime loan crisis for the Internet services sector – as well as the European debt crisis and, of course, the still ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

It seeks to draw a distinction between structural changes and the direct impact that these crises have had on markets:

Fixed calling, fixed Internet access and mobile services for the telecoms side of the equation;
Online advertising (search and display), e-commerce and cloud computing (only at the regional level for the latter) for the Internet services side;
Each of the major global markets (USA, China, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK) and the different regions.

This qualitative analysis includes quantified historic data for the different countries, from 2000 to 2019 (2008 to 2019 for Internet services) and forecasts for 2020 to 2024 (highlighting pre- and post-COVID forecasts).


1. Executive Summary
2. Telecommunication services
2.1. The Internet bubble
2.1.1. GDP growth and telecoms revenue from 2001 to 2005
2.1.2. The Internet bubble dragged down telecoms sector revenue growth in the US
2.1.3. The Internet bubble led to massive debt in Europe
2.2. The subprime loan crisis
2.2.1. GDP growth and telecoms revenue from 2008 to 2012
2.2.2. First signs that the telecoms sector’s legendary resilience may be over
2.2.3. China’s rise
2.3. The European public debt crisis
2.3.1. GDP growth and telecoms revenue from 2011 to 2015
2.3.2. Decorrelation between telecoms sector revenue and GDP
2.3.3. Five European countries paid the highest toll
2.4. The COVID-19 crisis
2.4.1. GDP and telecoms revenue growth from 2018 to 2023
2.4.2. Some positive signs for the short term
2.4.3. Questions over the long term outlook
3. Internet services
3.1. The subprime loan crisis
3.1.1. Comparison of GDP, online advertising and e-commerce growth, from 2008 to 2012
3.1.2. Advertising, even online, not spared the economy’s impact
3.1.3. e-commerce not hit by the subprime crisis, except in the US
3.2. European debt crisis
3.2.1. Comparison of GDP, online advertising and e-commerce growth, from 2009 to 2015
3.2.2 Online advertising quite clearly affected
3.2.3. e-commerce suffers little from the European debt crisis
3.3. The COVID-19 crisis
3.3.1. Comparison of GDP, online advertising and e-commerce growth, from 2017 to 2023
3.3.2. Comparison of display revenue growth by country
3.3.3. Comparison of search revenue growth by country
3.3.4. Comparison of e-commerce revenue growth by country
3.3.5. Who fared best?
4. Annex: GDP growth forecasts
4.1. International Monetary Fund Growth Projections
4.2. European Commission Growth Projections
4.3. European Commission Unemployment Forecasts
4.4. National Institutions’ Growth Projections
List of tables and figures
Telecommunication services
Telecoms sector revenue growth in the US, 2001-2005
Telecoms sector revenue growth by segment, in the US, 2001-2005
Telecoms sector revenue growth in Europe’s five biggest countries, 2001-2005
Telecoms sector revenue growth by segment, in Europe’s five biggest countries, 2001-2005
Europe’s four largest operators’ net debt to EBITDA ratio, 2000-2005
Telecoms sector revenue growth in Europe’s five biggest countries, 2008-2012
Telecoms sector revenue growth by segment, in Europe’s five biggest countries, 2008-2012
Telecoms sector revenue growth in Asia, 2008-2012
Telecoms sector revenue growth by segment, in China, 2008-2012
Telecoms sector revenue growth in Europe’s five biggest countries, 2011-2015
Telecoms sector revenue growth by segment, in Europe’s five biggest countries, 2011-2015
Telecoms sector revenue growth in the countries hardest hit, 2011-2015
Telecoms sector revenue growth by segment, in the countries hardest hit, 2011-2015
Telecoms sector revenue growth in Europe’s five largest countries, 2018-2023
Telecoms sector revenue growth by segment, in Europe’s five largest countries, 2018-2023f
Share price for Europe’s top telecoms players in October 2020
Internet services
Progression of display revenue by country, 2008-2012
Progression of search revenue by country, 2008-2012
Display case (Google)
Progression of regional e-commerce revenue, 2008-2012
Progression of e-commerce revenue by country, 2008-2012
Progression of display revenue by country, 2009-2015
Progression of search revenue by country, 2009-2015
Progression of e-commerce revenue by country, 2009-2015
Progression of display revenue by country pre-COVID, 2017-2023
Progression of display revenue by country post COVID, 2017-2023
Progression of search revenue by country pre-COVID, 2017-2023
Progression of search revenue by country post COVID, 2017-2023
Progression of e-commerce revenue by country pre-COVID, 2017-2023
Progression of e-commerce revenue by county pre-COVID, 2017-2023
Progression of e-commerce revenue by country post COVID, 2017-2023
Comparison of revenue for the first 9 months of 2019 and 2020
Evolution of markets caps
YoY revenue growth in Q2 and Q3 for selected players (advertising-only)
YoY revenue growth in Q2 and Q3 for selected players (in key segments, excluding advertising)

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