Sales made via e-commerce reached a global value of $25,600 billion in 2018.

This is an increase of 0.2% compared to 2017, according to the latest available estimates published today by the United Nations Trade and Development Organization, Unctad.

According to the analysis, the sales value of the 2018 estimated e-commerce, which includes business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C), was equivalent to 30% of the total gross domestic product (GDP)

Shamika Sirimanne, Director of Technology and Logistics Unctad, pointed out that the Coronavirus crisis has accelerated the strong adoption of digital solutions, tools and services. However, Sirimanne continues, it is still quite complex to determine what impact it could have on the value of the e-commerce in 2020.

As for the value of global e-commerce in 2017, this was estimated at 23800 billion dollars based on a revised methodology.

The best countries in e-commerce sales

The value of the global B2B in 2018 was 21000 billion dollars, equal to 83% of all l’e-commerce, which includes both online market platforms and electronic data interchange transactions.

L’E-commerce B2C was estimated at 4400 billion dollars, an increase of 16% compared to 2017.

In 2018, cross-border sales of B2C e-commerce amounted to EUR 404 billion, an increase of 7% compared to 2017.

The United States continued to dominate the e-commerce market. It remained among the top three countries with sales of B2C e-commerce, along with China and the UK.

The main B2C e-commerce companies are mainly based in China and the United States. According to the report, the world’s top 10 B2C companies in 2018 generated almost $2,000 billion in gross commodity value (GMV).

Alibaba (China) led the ranking with a GMV of $866 billion in 2018, followed by Amazon (United States) with $ 277 billion.

However, in terms of gain, JD.com (China) and Amazon have surpassed Alibaba.

The developing and transitional economies accounted for about half of the first 20 sales economies of B2C e-commerce. As regards the impact on GDP, B2C was most significant in Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom, while the countries where it weighed less were India, Brazil and Russia.

Among the top 20 economies, the extent to which Internet users engage in online purchases varies considerably.

For example, in 2018, 87% of Internet users in the UK made online purchases, compared with only 14% in Thailand and 11% in India.

More than 1.4 billion people have shopped online

Unctad estimates that 1.45 billion people, or a quarter of the world’s population aged 15 years or older, made online purchases in 2018.

This is 9% more than in 2017.

China had the largest number of online buyers of 610 million, according to the report. Although most online buyers mainly purchased from domestic suppliers, around 330 million cross-border purchases in 2018 • over 20% of the total.

Interest for the purchase from foreign suppliers continued to expand. The share of cross-border online buyers to all online buyers increased from 17% in 2016 to 23% in 2018.

Although the number of buyers is huge, Sirimanne has closed, much remains to be done to fill the digital divide and free up the full potential of the e-commerce. Today, only half of the 7.7 billion people in the world are connected to the Internet and its benefits. This limits the ability of many developing countries to use digital solutions to cope with the current health and economic crisis.

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