Global e-commerce jumps to $26.7 trillion, COVID-19 boosts online sales

During a two-day meeting on measuring e-commerce and the digital economy, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released a report on the estimates of global e-commerce 2019 and preliminary assessment of COVID-19 impact on online retail 2020. The report argues that the movement restrictions of the COVID-19 crisis gave rise to e-commerce with an estimated growth of total retail sales from 16% to 19% in 2020 which, in turn, resulted in mixed fortunes for some e-commerce companies. This was demonstrated in the Republic of Korea where the highest share was reported at 25.9% in 2020, more than 20.8% in 2019. Yet, platform companies offering services such as ride-hailing and travel reported remarkable reversal of fortunes. ‘These statistics show the growing importance of online activities. They also point to the need for countries, especially developing ones, to have such information as they rebuild their economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ noted UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics Shamika Sirimanne.