Digitalization and Firm Performance: Empirical Evidence from Forbes-listed Companies

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Oumeima Toumia
Rym Mefteh
Marc Cowling


As the world goes digital, many companies have found that their performance improves when they digitize their operations. This is especially true in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies must rely more on digital tools to survive. Our paper aims to examine the connection between digital competitiveness and the financial performance of 86 digital businesses at the country level before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic over the period 2017--2021. Unlike previous findings that relied on qualitative methods, our research relies on quantitative methods. More precisely, we empirically examine the impact of digital competitiveness (i.e., an index) on financial performance (i.e., measured by return on assets) through linear regression models and panel data regressions for three specific periods (2017-2019 pre-pandemic, 2020 pandemic, and 2021 post-pandemic). We found that COVID-19 allows firms to adopt digitalization. More specifically, comparing the three periods, we discovered that digital competitiveness positively influences business financial performance in the post-Covid era. Looking ahead to the post-Covid world, it is clear that companies must prioritize digital competitiveness to ensure their long-term success. Governments can learn important lessons from this research on how to help companies digitize."

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