Deloitte: Digital infrastructure third mainport economy

18 November 2013

The ‘digital infrastructure’ market will, in the coming years, experience a double-digit growth. This is evident from a research by consulting firm Deloitte, in cooperation with Rabobank, AMS-IX, the DHPA and ECP. Its growth will, in combination with the key role it plays in facilitating the digital marketplace, be so impressive that it will develop itself in a few years’ time into the third mainport of the Netherlands, following Schiphol and the harbour of Rotterdam.

The Dutch ‘digital infrastructure’ market consists of all companies that are active in supporting online, mobile and digital developments. Examples include companies that provide data, hosting or connectivity services. The market is currently estimated to be worth between €810 million and €1.325 million. For comparison, the online market is about 10 times this size.


In the coming years, the market is forecasted to boom. According to the consultants, four developments are behind this. Firstly, IP traffic is expected to double between 2013-2017, resulting in a surge in demand for infrastructure and hosting services. Secondly, the massive rise in data storage demand, driven by the rise of Analytics and Big Data, will result in a growing workload for data centres with more than 50% per year. At the same time, the data centre activity will transition from traditional providers to the cloud, which will put a larger strain on the digital infrastructure. Lastly, three key technology trends – Cloud Computing, Big Data and The Internet of Things – will lead to an upsurge in demand for IT capacity.


In addition to the direct economic importance of the digital infrastructure, it has a massive indirect effect to the Dutch economy. It is described by the researchers as a driver and facilitator of key digital trends: namely e-commerce, digital media, online advertising and cloud. These areas have grown steeply over the past few years* and also in the coming period double-digit growth is more the rule than the exception. Yet, without a solid digital infrastructure in place this growth may be tempered, says Deloitte, leading to a large missed opportunity in terms of economic value.

“This research shows unequivocally the enormous importance of the Dutch digital infrastructure”, said Michiel Steltman, Director of the DHPA. “This third mainport is the engine for growth and also offers Dutch SMES great opportunities in the international online world.”

* For example, B2C e-commerce’s turnover increased from € 7.4 billion in 2009 to € 9.8 billion in 2012, and the number of companies using cloud services has more than tripled in most sectors in three years’ time (2010-2013).