An increase in e-commerce caused by the restrictions induced by the pandemic emergency, which has caused an acceleration of online retail sales, registering a growth from 16% in 2019 to 19% in 2020, according to UN analysts. According to the report, online retail sales have grown significantly in several countries, with the Republic of Korea reporting the highest share at 25.9% in 2020, up from 20.8% the previous year. . Almost 1.5 billion people shopped online in 2019, more than a quarter of the world population aged 15 and over.
The Top Ten Countries 2019 according to Unctad analysis
With a turnover of 431 billion dollars, equal to 22% of GDP, Italy ranks in the top ten of the international ranking, although the USA is reconfirmed at the top with 9,580 billion dollars (equal to 45% of GDP), followed by Japan (3,416 billion and 67% of GDP), and China (2,604 billion, 18%). First for percentage of GDP (79%) but fourth for profits South Korea with 1.302 billion. In fifth place the United Kingdom (885 billion, 31%), sixth France (785 billion, 29%) and seventh Germany (524 billion, 14%), preceding Italy. Also in the ranking are Australia (347 billion, 25% of GDP) and Spain (344 billion, 25%).
“These statistics show the growing importance of online activities. They also highlight the need for countries, especially developing ones, to have such information as they rebuild their economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” points out Shamika Sirimanne, Unctad’s director of technology and logistics.
Among the eCommerce companies, the Chinese Alibaba stands out in first position with 1.145 billion (+ 20%), compared to Amazon with 575 billion (+ 38%) and the other two Chinese companies JD.com (379 billion, + 25.4%) ) and Pinduoduo (242 billion, + 65.9%).
A dominating the eCommerce sector is B2B sales ($ 21.8 trillion), which includes both online platform sales and electronic data exchange transactions.
The pandemic, however, has resulted in mixed fortunes for some B2C e-commerce companies, reversing the profits of companies offering services such as ride-hailing, transport and travel, as data for the top 13 e-commerce companies show, 11 of which are from China and the United States.
The collapse of the transport sector and the growth of B2C eCommerce companies
In fact, travel companies recorded a sharp drop in the gross value of goods (GMV, sold through eCommerce marketplaces) and corresponding to a drop in the ranking. This is the case of Expedia, which dropped from 5th place in 2019 to 11th in 2020, Booking Holdings from 6th to 12th and Airbnb, which launched its initial public offering in 2020, slipped from 11th to 13th.
Despite the delicious reduction, the total GMV for the top 13 B2C ecommerce companies increased by 20.5% in 2020, up from 2019 (17.9%). There were particularly large gains for Shopify (+ 95.6%) and Walmart (72.4%). Overall, the value of the B2C GMV commodity for the top 13 companies it stood at $ 2.9 trillion in 2020.
Business-to-business sales dominate e-commerce
The report estimates the value of global B2B e-commerce in 2019 at $ 21.8 trillion, which represents 82% of all eCommerce, including sales on online marketplaces and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) transactions. ).
B2C e-commerce that crosses national borders amounts to approximately $ 440 billion in 2019, an increase of 9% compared to 2018. The UNCTAD report also notes that the share of online shoppers making cross-border purchases has risen since 20 % in 2017 to 25% in 2019.
ECommerce companies and reduced performance due to digital inclusion
Against the large profits, based on the index published by the World Benchmarking Alliance in December last year, many of the eCommerce companies performed poorly with respect to digital inclusion.
The index, in fact, ranked 100 digital companies, including 14 eCommerce companies, using as an indicator how they contribute to access to digital technologies, building digital skills, strengthening trust and promoting innovation. ECommerce businesses outperformed companies in other digital industries, such as telecommunications hardware or services. Among these, it was eBay in 49th place, however, according to the World Benchmarking Alliance.
According to the UNCTAD report, the main factor for the poor performance would be found in the fact that eCommerce companies are relatively young, typically only established in the last two decades.
“These companies have focused more on shareholders rather than engaging with a broad group of stakeholders and compiling metrics on their environmental, social and governance performance.”, explains the report.
Small reversals are taking place in several e-commerce companies that offer free training to entrepreneurs on online sales, targeting vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities or ethnic minorities.