Switzerland is the new number one on the B2C E-commerce Index of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). It surpasses the Netherlands, which ended first in the previous two editions. UNCTAD ranks 152 countries on their readiness to engage in online commerce.
The latest index shows that Europe is by far the most prepared region for e-commerce, according to UNCTAD. Aside from Singapore (4th) and Hong Kong (10th), all countries in the top ten are from Europe. However, there are wide gaps with countries with the lowest level of readiness. This needs to be addressed by tackling weaknesses in those nations. This is in order to spread the benefits of digital transformation to more people.
For the very first time, Switzerland leads the UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index. Just ahead of the Netherlands. In 2019, 97% of the Swiss population used the internet.
Top ten economies in UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index 2020:
- The Netherlands
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong
These countries are ranked based on different factors. Among these factors are the access to secure internet servers, reliability of postal services and infrastructure, and the portion of the population that uses the internet and has an account with a financial institution or a provider of mobile money services.
Asia leads the pack of developing countries
The ten developing countries with the highest scores are all from Asia. In addition to being classified as high-income or upper-middle-income economies. On the other hand, least developed countries occupy 18 of the bottom 20 positions. The two largest B2C e-commerce markets in the world are China and the United States. They rank 55th and 12th respectively in the index. Although both countries lead in several absolute measures, they lag in relative comparisons.
The e-commerce divide
“The e-commerce divide remains huge,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s division that prepares the annual index. “Even among G20 countries, the extent to which people shop online ranges from 3% in India to 87% in the United Kingdom.” Moreover, in Canada, the United States and ten European nations, more than 70% of the adult population makes purchases online. However, that proportion is well below 10% in most low- and lower-middle-income countries.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more urgent to ensure the countries trailing behind are able to catch up and strengthen their e-trade readiness,” Sirimanne said. The index also underscores the need for governments to do more to ensure more people can avail of e-commerce opportunities. “Otherwise, their businesses and people will miss out on the opportunities offered by the digital economy, and they will be less prepared to deal with various challenges.”