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UNCTAD’s 2020 Ecommerce Week Online

I attended 10 of the 15 online webinars held in the week of 27 April. There was a lot of fascinating information, and the new Secretary-General of the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr Wamkele Mene, spoke for the first time. He pointed out the ecommerce will be included in the first negotiating phase for the free trade area. Previously ecommerce had not been considered. UNCTAD, as usual, launched its annual estimates for ecommerce globally. Its study shows that ecommerce sales hit $25.6 trillion globally in 2018, up 8% from 2017, according to the UNCTAD Estimates of Global E-Commerce 2018. The estimated 2018 ecommerce sales value includes business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sales and was equivalent to 30% of global gross domestic product (GDP) that year. The study also revalued the 2017 value of global ecommerce at $23.8 trillion, based on a revised methodology. However, the report also points out that today only half of the world’s 7.7 billion people are connected to the internet and its benefits.

According to the UNCTAD, the value of global B2B e-commerce in 2018 was $21 trillion, representing 83% of all ecommerce, comprising both sales on online market platforms and electronic data interchange transactions. B2C ecommerce was valued at $4.4 trillion, up by 16% from 2017. Cross-border B2C ecommerce sales amounted to $404 billion in 2018, representing an increase of 7% over 2017.

The USA continued to dominate the overall ecommerce market and remains among the top 3 countries by B2C ecommerce sales, alongside China and the UK.

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Alastair Tempest

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