In recent decades, explosive growth of computer and Internet technologies has occurred. New innovative forms of IT technologies have appeared, for example, cloud computing. Information and communication technologies integrated into all spheres of the economy, which contributed to the formation of such a concept as the digital economy. The digital economy is an economy based on the use of the most advanced information technologies. The development of the digital economy is one of the drivers of economic development in the world. At present, when the development of the world economic system takes place in rather difficult conditions, caused by the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis and the long recession after it, investments in the digital economy allow companies to optimize and reduce costs for doing business, increase labor productivity, accelerate the creation new innovative products and its rapid launch into the world market. The paper analyzes the stages of formation and development of the digital economy, examines the main directions of the digital economy, provides an assessment of the dynamics and growth rates of the global electronic economy and evaluates the investment climate in countries aimed at the development of the digital economy. Particular attention is paid to one of the directions of electronic economy, digital transformation of industry by means of technologies "Industry 4.0".