The highest wages in the ICT and finance sector

Wage growth remained relatively rapid and broad-based in the fourth quarter. Statistics Estonia’s wage data showed a slowdown in the annual growth rate of the full-time-equivalent average gross wage (+6.4%, over the year) in Q4 2019, mostly due to a high base effect of Q4 2018.

Tax Authority’s data on the median wage showed a continuously rapid wage growth of +9.0%, over the year. The average inflation-adjusted net wage increased by 3.5%, over the year.

Wage growth in the public sector (education, health care, public administration) exceeded wage growth in the private sector.

Private sector, exposed to global competition, has found it harder lifting its labour costs as rapidly. Among different sectors, the average wage was still the highest in the ICT and finance, which also saw solid growth rates in 2019.

As export demand and Estonia’s economy are expected to grow at a slower pace this year, demand for labour should ease, at least in the exporting industry. So, wage growth should moderate, from very high levels (from 7.4% in 2019 to 6.5% in 2020 and 5.5% in 2021). Wage growth in the public sector should also soften, according to the 2020’s budget.

Source: Swedbank

The use of Internet in Estonia

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2019, 90% of households had internet connection at home and it is used daily or almost daily by 98% of 16–44-year-olds. Enterprises contribute increasingly to improving their ICT security measures and policies.

From households, over 99% of families with children had internet at home. In families of single parents, 99.5% had fixed broadband connection (98.2% in 2018). In the last three months, 98% of 16–44-year-old internet users used the interned daily or almost daily. This share among 65–74-year-olds increased from 71% to 75%. Internet was accessed via mobile phone away from home or work by 83.3% of internet users and 36.6% used a portable computer. Both shares have increased compared to the previous year. The comparison of different age groups reveals a clear trend – the younger the internet users the higher the percentage of those who access the internet while on the move or via mobile phone.

Among 16–74-year-olds, nine out of ten internet users continue to use the internet to send e-mails and use internet banking services. 72% of internet users listened to music and participated in social networks. Using the internet for calling has increased the most. Using the internet to seek information on goods and services (from 89.5% to 86.4%) and selling own goods and services over the internet, incl. auctioning (from 26.6% to 20.2%), have decreased.

In the last 12 months, every third internet user booked a transport service (Bolt/Uber) and every fourth booked an accommodation service (Airbnb.com) from a private person through a website or a mobile app. Accommodation services were booked via the website or mobile app by men and women in equal numbers but men booked transport services more (34.9% for men and 30.5% for women). 75% of internet users bought a product or service from the internet; this is 7 percentage points more than the year before. 77% of female and 73% of male internet users used the internet for this reason (respectively 71% and 65% the year before). The products ordered the most from the internet were travel and accommodation services (70%), insurance policies (66%) and tickets to different events (concert, cinema, theatre, etc.) (61%). Clothing, footwear and sports goods were bought by every second and food and essential goods by every third e-commerce user.

In 2019, 15% of Estonian enterprises employed ICT specialists, which is 2% more than the year before. Enterprises employing ICT specialists were more numerous in the group of enterprises with 250 and more persons employed. The survey “Information technology in enterprises” in 2019 focused also on ICT security. The results reveal that the majority of Estonian enterprises use security measures. The security measure used the most include strong password authentication, keeping the software up-to-date, network access control and data backup to a separate location. 7% of enterprises used user identification and authentication via biometric methods (based on fingerprints, voice or face).

Enterprises consider ICT security important and work in that area is ongoing: in the last two years more than a fifth of enterprises have established or amended their security policy. Dealing with ICT security issues is also important due to security incidents. 9% of enterprises had at least one ICT security incident in the past year. The largest number of security incidents concerned the unavailability of ICT services due to the denial of service or ransomware attacks. Enterprises had some experience with the destruction or corruption of data and damage was experienced also as a result of the disclosure of confidential data. The majority (91%) of enterprises, however, did not have security incidents in the past year.

Most Estonian enterprises have a website or web page as part of their parent company’s website, mainly introducing products and services. A fourth of enterprises have online ordering or booking options on their website. Almost a fifth of Estonian enterprises sold products or services via their website. Online sale is more widespread in wholesale and retail trade, accommodation and food service activities and in information and communication. 18% of enterprises selling their products or services online sold them in Estonia. 8% of enterprises sold via the website to European countries. In 2018, the share of online sale accounted for 7% of the turnover of enterprises.

The use of information technology among persons aged 16–74, households and enterprises is studied based on a harmonized methodology in all European Union Member States. Statistics Estonia studies the use of information technology in households and among inhabitants aged 16–74 annually in the 2nd quarter. From 2005 to 2013, this was part of the Labour Force Survey, since 2014 an independent survey. A household is a group of persons who live at the same address and share joint financial resources and whose members consider themselves to be members of one household. It differs from family, which is based on family relationships or kinship.

Statistics Estonia has surveyed the use of information technology in enterprises since 2001. 3,400 enterprises participated in the survey in 2019. The survey involves enterprises with 10 or more persons employed.

For the statistical activity “Information technology in households” and “Information technology in enterprises” the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia collects and analyses the data necessary for conducting the statistical activities.

Source: Statistics Estonia
See graph here

Growth in manufacture of computers and electronic products

According to Statistics Estonia, in June 2018, the production of industrial enterprises increased by 3% compared to June 2017. Production increased in manufacturing, energy as well as in mining.

In June, the total production in manufacturing was 2% higher compared to the corresponding month of 2017. In June, over a half of the branches of industry exceeded the volume of the same month of the previous year. The growth in production was mostly due to an increase in the manufacture of computers and electronic products, fabricated metal products and chemical products. There was also a slight increase in the manufacture of food products. Among the branches of industry with larger shares, production fell in the manufacture of wood and furniture.

In June, 68% of the total production of manufacturing was sold to the external market. According to unadjusted data, sales of manufacturing production for exports increased by 6% and sales to the domestic market increased by 3% compared to June 2017.

In June 2018, compared to May, the seasonally adjusted total industrial production decreased in total by 1%. Production of manufacturing fell by 2% compared to the previous month.

Compared to June 2017, the production of electricity decreased by 21%.Volume index of production in manufacturing and its trend, January 2009 – June 2018

Read more from Statistics Estonia

88 pct of Estonian households have internet connection

According to Statistics Estonia, 88% of Estonian households had internet connection at home in 2017. The share of households using mobile internet connection has reached 82%, increasing by four percentage points in a year.

The share of households with internet connection at home increased two percentage points compared to the previous year. Nearly nine out of ten households with internet connection had a fixed broadband connection (wired or wireless) and eight had mobile internet connection. The share of households with mobile internet connection increased four percentage points in a year. Slightly more than two-thirds of households without internet connection at home cited lack of need or interest as the main reason for not having the connection at home.

While 97% of 16–54-year-olds used the internet in the last three months, the same indicator among 65–74-year-olds was 68%. The share of internet users among 65–74-years-olds increased two percentage points in a year, reaching 53%. Nevertheless, the digital divide between the youngest (16–24-year-olds) and the oldest (65–74-year-olds) age group was 46 percentage points. 90% of internet users used the internet and 85% of them used a computer daily.

While on the move (away from home and work), 73% of internet users used the internet on a smart or mobile phone and 32% on a portable computer in the last three months. Compared to 2016, these indicators had risen seven and three percentage points, respectively. By age groups, the use of internet on the move was the highest among 16–24-year-old internet users.

In the last three months, the most popular internet activities among 16–74-year-old internet users were: using internet banking services (90%), reading media publications (90%) and using e-mail (89%). In the last 12 months, 22% of internet users booked transport service (e.g. on Taxify or Uber) and 17% booked accommodation service (e.g. on Airbnb.com) from a private person by using a website or mobile app.

In the last 12 months, 65% of internet users bought or ordered some product or service online, which is one percentage point more than a year ago. E-commerce users ordered mostly travel and accommodation services (61%) and tickets to concerts, cinema, theatre and other events (57%). Slightly more than one third (35%) of e-commerce users bought or ordered food and staple goods and a quarter bought electronic equipment online.

96% of Estonian enterprises with 10 or more employed persons used computers every day, 95% of them used the internet. Fixed broadband internet connection is used predominantly, but almost three‑quarters of enterprises also used mobile internet for work purposes. The speed of used internet connections has increased year by year. For 80% of enterprises with a fixed broadband internet connection the fastest download speed was over 10 Mbit/s. 97% of enterprises using fixed broadband internet access were satisfied with the connection.

In 2017, 15% of Estonian enterprises employed qualified information and communication technology (ICT) specialists. 8% of companies encountered difficulties recruiting ICT specialists. As the use of ICT tools is indispensable in everyday life, the continuous improvement of ICT skills is inevitable. One tenth of Estonian enterprises trained their employees in information and communication technology, 8% of companies trained ICT professionals working in the enterprise.

In 2017, 18% of Estonian enterprises sold their products or services electronically. E-commerce sales accounted for 21% of the total turnover of enterprises engaging in e-sales. The largest e‑sales users were wholesale and retail trade and accommodation and food service enterprises.The use of information technology among persons aged 16–74, households and enterprises is studied based on a harmonized methodology in all European Union Member States. Statistics Estonia studies the use of information technology in households and among inhabitants aged 16–74 annually in the 2nd quarter. From 2005 to 2013, this was part of the Labour Force Survey, since 2014 an independent survey. A household is a group of persons who live at the same address and share joint financial resources and whose members consider themselves to be members of one household. It differs from family, which is based on family relationships or kinship.

Statistics Estonia has surveyed the use of information technology in enterprises since 2001. 3,400 enterprises participated in the survey in 2017. The survey covers enterprises with 10 or more persons employed.

For the statistical activity “Information technology in households” and “Information technology in enterprises” the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

Source: Statistics Estonia

 

e-commerce purchases up by 25 pct in 2.Q

Individuals in Estonia made an average of 1.1 million cashless payments per day in the second quarter of 2017. The number of payments was 7% and the turnover 8% higher than it was at the same time last year.

75% of the cashless payments initiated by individuals were card payments. 819,000 card payments were made daily in the second quarter, 7% of them outside Estonia. Estonian residents used card payments in 184 countries in the second quarter, the most popular being Finland, Latvia, Russia, Sweden, Spain and the UK. People in Estonia are some of the greatest lovers of card payments in Europe, only surpassed by Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and the UK. The average size of a card payment made by an individual in Estonia was 15.4 euros in the second quarter, which is one of the smallest in Europe, probably because Estonia has not set a floor for the size of a card payment. Card payments made abroad were larger and averaged at 26.8 euros.

The daily average number of payment orders made by individuals in the second quarter was 250,000. Half of them were payments through an internet bank, and the other half were e-invoice standing orders and payment orders through a bank link. The number of e-invoice standing orders has not changed since the changeover from direct debits. In 2013, before the changeover to e-invoice standing orders, the average number of direct debits was 54,000 per day. By the second quarter of 2017, it had remained almost the same at 53,000 payments per day. Most payment orders are domestic, only 0.6% are made to foreign banks.

Figures illustrating the use of online stores stand out among other payment methods. Compared to the same time last year, the number of payment orders made through a bank link* has grown by more than 10% (it is now 50,000 payments per day). A bank link can only be used for domestic purchases. Estonian residents are becoming progressively more active in purchasing from foreign online stores. In the second quarter, individuals made 28,000 e-commerce card transactions every day, which is a 46% increase year-on-year. 91% of online purchases made with a card come from foreign online stores. Data from Omniva and Statistics Estonia confirm that Estonian people are ordering online more and more. Statistics Estonia data also show that in April and May, the sales revenue of stores that sell online or by post grew the most, 30% in a year, compared to the 6% sales revenue increase of retail stores. The largest retail chains in Estonia attest to the fact that e-commerce is growing fast, and most chains have opened or are planning to open their online store soon.

* A bank link is a payment method where an online store directs the customer to pay for a purchase in their internet bank using a pre-filled order.

Cashless payments initiated by individuals through Estonian banks in 2017 Q2 (daily average)
number of payments (thous.) incl. cross-border payments turnover of payments (million euros) incl. cross-border payments
Total of the payments made (A+B+F+G) 1 100 7% 45,7 9%
         incl. card payments (A) 819 7% 13,2 11%
         incl. payment orders (B) 250 1% 30,3 7%
                 internet bank payment orders  (C) 123 1% 17,9 7%
                 e-invoice standing orders (D) 53 0% 1,6 0%
                 bank link payment orders (E) 50 0% 1,4 0%
         incl. e-commerce card transactions (F) 28 91% 1,0 93%
         incl. other (G) 3 0% 1,2 0%
E-commerce transactions (E+F) 78 33% 2,4 38%

 

Number of cashless payments made by individuals

Source: Bank of Estonia

Author: Tiina Soosalu, Eesti Pank Payment and Settlement Systems Department

EU ministers discussed the free movement of data

On June 17. in Tallinn, European Union’s Competitiveness and Information Technology Ministers discussed how to better exploit the potential of the European single market through the free movement of data.

“The digital solutions that we use daily in our home countries, for example to communicate with public authorities, should also be available in other countries. I’ve invited my colleagues to think about how to improve the user experience of the single market for both citizens and enterprises,” Kadri Simson, the Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure said.

The free movement of data to authorities in other countries would mean, for example, that an architect would not need to apply for a business permit to design a house in another Member State. Data already submitted in one member state and verified by the authorities could be made available digitally to the competent authority in another country, which could then immediately identify which qualifications and rights the person had.

“Stimulating the cross-border provision of services has a positive effect on the economy as a whole. It supports the establishment and expansion of businesses and the creation of jobs, and gives consumers more choice at more affordable prices,” Simson explained.

The main objective of the Competitiveness Ministers is to identify obstacles that limit the free movement of data and find ways to move forward.

“For many European countries, the problem is how to create a clear and common legal framework for an EU-wide data economy,” Simson said.

Estonia aims to agree on a general approach for the introduction of e-services during its presidency.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure

Sales increased 22 pct in online stores

According to Statistics Estonia, in April 2017, compared to April 2016, the turnover of retail trade enterprises increased 1% at constant prices. While in March the turnover increased 5% compared to the same month of the previous year, in April the growth decelerated.

In April 2017, the turnover of retail trade enterprises was 537.4 million euros.

The turnover growth of stores selling manufactured goods decelerated in April. While in March the turnover of these stores increased 10% compared to the same month of the previous year, in April the growth was 2%. The turnover increased in most economic activities, except for stores selling pharmaceutical goods and cosmetics, where the turnover was smaller than in April of the previous year. In non-specialized stores selling predominantly manufactured goods (e.g. department stores), turnover remained at the same level as in April 2016. Turnover increased the most in stores selling via mail order or the Internet, with sales increasing 22% year over year. A higher-than-average increase in turnover occurred also in stores selling second-hand goods and in non-store retail sale (stalls, markets, direct sale) (5% growth).

The turnover of grocery stores increased 2% compared to April 2016.

The turnover of enterprises engaged in the retail sale of automotive fuel, which grew in February and March, started declining again in April and decreased 4% compared to April of the previous year.

Compared to the previous month, in April, the turnover of retail trade enterprises decreased 1%. According to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data, turnover stayed at the same level compared to the previous month. In the four months of 2017 (January–April), the turnover of retail trade enterprises increased 2% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.Turnover volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend

The statistics are based on the VAT declaration data of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. Statistics Estonia published the monthly summary in five working days. For the statistical activity “Economic indicators of trade enterprises”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia performs this statistical activity.

Source: Statistics Estonia

TeliaSonera and Ericsson to go 5G in Tallinn in 2018

TeliaSonera and Ericsson have entered into a strategic partnership to let customers in Stockholm and Tallinn experience 5G services already in 2018.

Based on TeliaSonera and Ericsson’s common understanding of market and customer needs, the two companies will develop 5G use-cases and service scenarios, including both communication and Internet of Things (IoT) services with the purpose to address new business opportunities, the companies announced today. The partnership will bring 5G services to customers in 2018 by combining the TeliaSonera network with Ericsson technology.

Read more from ERR News

Taxify launches service in Kiev

Estonian transportation network company Taxify launched their taxi and ridesharing service in Kiev on Friday, which means that the mobile app is serving customers in a total of 21 cities in 14 countries.

While over three million people live in Kiev, a city five times bigger than the Estonian capital of Tallinn, more than 90 percent of customers still order their taxis from dispatch centers, reported Taxify in a press release. Of the over 20,000 taxis in the country, whose quality varies wildly, approximately 200, including drivers offering rideshares, had joined forces with the Estonian-based company by the time of its launch in the Ukrainian capital.

All drivers working for Taxify have undergone a thorough background check and training on Taxify’s part.

“Ukraine is a very large market and we had been weighing expansion to there for some time already,” explained Taxify co-founder Martin Villig. “This is an interesting challenge for Taxify as locl taxis [in Kiev] mostly drive according to a fixed negotiated price and not with taxi meters, as is common elsewhere in Europe.

Taxify is an Estonian startup launched in 2013 which is working on developing a worldwide app for taxis and ridesharing worldwide. Employing over 50 people worldwide, Taxify offers services in 21 cities across 14 different countries.

Taxify mediates millions of trips per year in Europe and Africa, and has invested two million euros in order to finance rapid growth, making it the most effectively operating mobile application in the world.

Source: ERR News

Head of Estonian tax authority to begin working in Nortal

Marek Helm, current director general of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (MTA), will be joining the software and business consultancy company Nortal as director of the company’s public finance and change management team in mid-January 2017.

According to Nortal founder and CEO Priit Alamäe, Helm has carried out extensive reforms and necessary transformations in one of the most important public authorities in Estonia for which there is strong demand globally. “Effective tax collection and transparent public finance management is becoming more relevant globally,” said Alamäe in a press release. “By uniting Helm’s experience with our knowledge and references, we are creating an international center of competence and export capability while preserving a recognized leader for Estonia.”

Helm said that he has worked in the public sector for over 20 years and feels that the time has come to put himself to the test in the private sector. “Nortal is a company with growing ambition and international scope that exports Estonian e-government success stories,” said Helm. 2I’m glad that with my expertise and experience I can contribute to the company’s continuous expansion to export markets that are of great importance to Estonia.”

The MTA’s current director general noted that he would be handing over the management of the state authority to his successor with peace of mind. “This is a fantastic organization and a professional close-knit team that serves the Estonian society and is a great partner for taxpayers,” Helm said.

“During the past few years, Nortal has made significant investments to develop internationally recognized competence in the field of complex e-government reforms,” explained Nortal’s CEO. “Our aim is to address a client’s needs as a whole by offering holistic service concepts that include everything from legislative drafting, organization and process re-design to the implementation of new technologies and change management. Marek Helm’s long-term experience in public sector reforms and creating more effective processes, where knowledge-based and well thought through change management plays an important role, fits perfectly with Nortal’s plans and strategy.”

Helm has led the MTA as director general from December 2011. Prior to that position, he was deputy secretary general for public governance policy at the Ministry of Finance from 2009-2011, led the founding of the joint internal security office under the Ministry of the Interior from 2007-2009, deputy secretary general for internal security of the Ministry of the Interior from 2006-2007 and director of the Ministry of the Interior’s Internal Security Department in 2006. From 2004-2006, Helm held the position of deputy director general of the MTA and in 2003-2004, deputy director general of the Customs Board in the customs enforcement and pre-trial investigation fields.

Nortal is an international strategy consultancy and software solutions company focusing on e-governance, health care, telecommunications, production and logistics. It operates in nearly 20 countries and employs 530 specialists. Nortal posted sales revenue of 45 million euros in 2015.

Source: ERR News