Business & Economy

Quarter of world’s population over 15 shopped online in 2019: UN

Geneva, May 3 (EFE).- At least 1.48 billion people — a little over quarter of the global population — aged over 15 years or shopped online in 2019, representing 16 percent of retail sales, 2 percent more than the year before, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report Monday.

The majority of online shoppers preferred to buy from domestic suppliers but 360 million consumers, that is, one in four, made cross-border purchases, a growing trend, the report said.

According to the report on the evolution of electronic commerce and the impact that Covid-19 has had on this sector, global value of online sales reached almost $26.7 trillion in 2019, 4 percent more than the previous year.

Online sales in 2020 jumped by three percentage points to account for 19 percent of all retail sales.

E-commerce sales, comprising of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, represented 30 percent of global GDP.

Global B2B e-commerce had an estimated value of $21.8 trillion in 2019, representing 82 percent of all e-commerce.

The United States topped the list of e-commerce sales in 2019 with $9.6 trillion, followed by Japan ($3.4 trillion), China ($2.6 trillion), South Korea ($1.3 trillion) and the United Kingdom ($885 billion).

China occupied first place in B2C e-commerce sales, which rose to $1.54 trillion, with more than seven out of every ten Internet users in the country shopping online in 2019.

The United Kingdom is the country where the most internet users engaged in online shopping (88 percent), followed by Canada, Germanyand the Netherlands (all 84 percent).

Ten of the top 13 e-commerce companies in 2020 are from China and the United States.

The data for 2020, although incomplete, indicates that Covid-19 had a very strong impact on companies offering travel and ride-hailing services.

Among those worst affected were online travel shopping companies, Expedia and Booking Holdings, and accommodation platform, Airbnb.

China’s Alibaba had the highest gross merchandise value (GMV) in 2020 at $1.15 trillion with a growth of 20.1 percent, according to preliminary data.

In second place is US company, Amazon, which registered an increase of 38 percent in its GMV, followed by the Chinese and Pinduoduo, and Canada’s Shopify, whose GMV posted respective growths of 25.4 percent, 65.9 percent and 95.6 percent.

Online sales companies performed relatively poorly in developing countries (with the exception of China), which the report attributed to their having been in business only for a few years. EFE


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