UNCTAD: A Quarter of the Globe Buys Online


UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said global e-commerce sales hit US$29 trillion in 2017 following a surge of 17%.

According to a statement, the increase in e-commerce is a sign of the growing number of opportunities being created by the worldwide e-commerce market and that the cross-border transactions sector remains healthy.

UNCTAD says the increase was driven largely by e-commerce growth by the US, which extended its lead over Japan to $9 trillion in e-commerce sales.

PTI explored the rise of the digital logistics market in a recent insight

As well as that, cross-border transactions increased their share of the overall e-commerce market from 15% to 21%, with approximately 1.3 billion – one-quarter of the global population – people buying at least one product online.  

The statistics show little change in the top 10, with the only significant movement being Germany leapfrogging South Korea into fourth.

Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce continued to dominate the sector and accounted for 88% of all online sales.



However, business-to-consumer (B2C) grew more than B2B and increased by 22% to $3.9 trillion, with China increasing its lead over the US and the UK, who were second and third respectively.

Speaking about the statistics, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said: “The new figures show that e-commerce is indeed creating export opportunities.

“But the question from a development standpoint is whether businesses in developing countries are prepared to seize the opportunities.”

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