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Europe continues to dominate global e-com ranking: UNCTAD

Dec '19
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Europe remains by far the most prepared region for e-commerce, with eight countries ranking in the top 10 of a global business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce index published early this month by the United Nations Conference on Trade Development (UNCTAD). For the second consecutive year, the Netherlands leads the index, followed by Switzerland.

The only non-European countries on the top 10 list are Singapore (third) and Australia (10th).

The index scores 152 nations on their readiness for online shopping, worth an estimated $3.9 trillion globally in 2017, up 22 per cent from the previous year, according to a press release from UNCTAD.

Countries are scored on the access to secure internet servers, the reliability of postal services and infrastructure, and the portion of their population that uses the internet and has an account with a financial institution or mobile-money-service provider.

The 10 developing countries with the highest scores are all from Asia and classified as high-income or upper middle-income economies. At the other end of the spectrum, least developed countries occupy 18 of the 20 bottom positions.

“Our B2C index shows how real and worrying the digital gap is between developed and developing countries,” says Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s unit that prepares the annual index.

For example, in half a dozen European nations, more than 80 per cent of Internet users make purchases online. But that proportion is below 10 per cent in most low and lower middle-income countries.

UNCTAD’s index also highlights the need to improve the reliability and availability of statistics, especially in developing countries.

For example, internet user data for 2018 were available for less than half of the countries at the time of index calculations. And the latest data on bank and mobile-money accounts are from 2017.

Iceland, New Zealand and Sweden dropped out of the top 10 list due to a decrease in their scores for secure servers and postal reliability. Sweden also saw a drop in the portion of its population using the Internet.

To help least developed countries improve their scores, UNCTAD is working with their governments to identify the main challenges and how to address them by conducting rapid eTrade readiness assessments.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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