Digital tools and platforms have provided immense benefits to the consumers. It has enabled the last mile consumers, access to affordable products and services, ability to compare and make informed choices, stay connected socially, enriched knowledge on various aspects and much more. The cores to such changes are the disruptive businesses and technologies. The conventional business models had limited impact due to physical limitations such as need of brick and mortar structures, longer wait time, limited options and coverage, higher costs, etc. The Digital platform allays such requirement constraints, which has led to its success.

Despite the benefits, approximately half of the global population is devoid of access to internet services.1 In India, Vietnam and Philippines, the digitally excluded population accounts to 65.6%, 48.6% and 48% respectively. Progressive measures are required by the government to capacitate consumers and making them adept in realising and utilising the benefits of digital tools and platforms, apart from enhancing affordability and accessibility. The governments should also facilitate the producers to innovate and provide services to consumers.

Within the framework of the Regional Inclusive Growth – Diginomics-I Project (2017-2018), being undertaken by CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CIRC) and implemented by the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International), three country reports are to be prepared for India, the Philippines and Vietnam. This study will highlight the need to strengthen digital economy while focusing on three key actors, Government, Producers and Consumers with deeper emphasis on Consumers. Best practices from across sectors and geographies, to showcase the benefits to the consumers, associated with digital platforms, will be highlighted in the study.

The study will identify bottlenecks and barriers to the growth of digital economy in each project country. Throughout the study, the objectives will be synced to the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The reports would embed measures, which would help removing barriers, improving digital literacy and empowering consumers/citizens in these countries. The study will also recommend evidence based measures to bolster the digital economy, in the respective jurisdiction. Finally, the reports will end with a SLOT analysis, considering a situation where allproject recommendations are seamlessly adopted and implemented.