We will discover the key findings from the study conducted by UNCTAD and a trade for all partners on the impacts of covid 19 on e-commerce and digital trade e-commerce has been playing a growing role as part of the wider digital economy in global economic activity for the past decade it also provides new ways of facilitating the sustainable development goals, bringing both new challenges and new opportunities. In fact, despite the global recession the pandemic has led to a further acceleration of digital transformation.
How Covid 19 boosted E-commerce so far:
First let’s look more closely at the global economic impact of the pandemic the global economy shrank in 2020 by an estimated 4.3 percent over two and a half times more than during the 2008 to 2009 global financial crisis. International trade including intercontinental and intra-regional e-commerce has been negatively affected by the pandemic.
UNCTAD’s latest estimates suggest that global trading goods fell by some nine percent in 2020 and trading services by 15 however as social distancing and restrictions on movement became the new normal many businesses and consumers went digital providing and purchasing more goods and services online. As a result the pandemic has led to a further acceleration of digital transformation the share of e-commerce in global retail trade is estimated to have surged from 14 in 2019 to about 17 in 2020, further acceleration of digital transformation was also observed in other sectors such as teleworking, gaming, distance learning, digital entertainment, online conferencing, the pandemic has also benefited the world’s leading digital platforms.
Most solutions being used for e-commerce teleworking and cloud computing are provided by a relatively small number of large companies based mainly in China and the United States consumers in emerging economies have made the greatest shift to online shopping. Latin America’s online marketplace Mercado Libra for example sold twice as many articles per day in the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same period the previous year. An African e-commerce platform, Jumia reported a 50 jump in transactions during the first six months of 2020. In China, the online share of retail sales rose from 19.4 to 24.6 between august 2019 and August 2020. In Kazakhstan, the online share of retail sales increased from 5 in 2019 to 9.4 in 2020. In Thailand, downloads of shopping apps jumped 60 in the week between the imposition of partial lockdown and full emergency measures during March, the accelerated trend towards e-commerce.
Seeing during the pandemic is likely to be sustained during recovery more than 50 percent of those interviewed in October’s consumer survey in nine countries said that they expected to continue shopping more often online after the pandemic, e-commerce platforms are therefore likely to retain many of the new market shares gained during the pandemic vis-à-vis offline markets, however in many of the world’s least developed countries consumers and businesses aren’t able to capitalize on the new e-commerce opportunities due to persistent bottlenecks and weaknesses in their e-trade readiness. The risk is that the huge digital divides that already exist between and within countries will worsen in the wake of the pandemic. The pandemic has reinforced the importance of addressing existing barriers, as the shift to the digital economy has been accelerated by the pandemic. The report sees the need for greater efforts by three main stakeholders to secure more inclusive benefits from e-commerce.
- First governments need to prioritize national digital readiness so that more local businesses can become producers in the digital economy not just consumers building and enabling e-commerce ecosystem requires changes in public policy and business practices to improve the digital and trading infrastructure facilitate digital payments and establish appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks for online transactions and security so the approach must be holistic policies should not be made in silos.
- Second digital entrepreneurship must become a central focus of efforts to capture value from digital trade.
- This requires faster digitalization among smaller businesses more attention to digital entrepreneurship including risk skilling better capabilities to capture and harness data and stronger regulatory
Third the international community including development partners united nations agencies and commissions regional economic communities and organizations concerned with digital development needs to find new bold and smart ways to work with governments and the private sector to leverage these opportunities better dialogue and collaboration are needed to identify new pathways for the digital economy that harness varying kinds of experience and expertise and avoid duplication.