In the years to come, we will remember 2020 as the year when everything changed. Sudden growth has occurred in the digital and e-commerce sectors. A real boom was born from the COVID-19 crisis.

Trend in 2020

Against the backdrop of an economic downturn, the COVID-19 crisis has led to an explosion of e-commerce and an acceleration of digital transformation.

As lockdowns became the new normal, businesses and consumers increasingly turned to digital. Indeed, they sell and buy more goods and services online. The share of online commerce in global retail trade has thus fallen from 14 % in 2019 to around 17 % in 2020.

Some take advantage, others lag behind

The trend recorded for e-commerce in 2020 is expected to continue during the recovery, according to the report.

But in several least developed countries, consumers and businesses have failed to take advantage of the opportunities offered by e-commerce due to persistent barriers.

These include the high cost of broadband services, over-reliance on cash, lack of consumer confidence, low digital skills of the population and limited attention given by governments to e-commerce.

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Government responses

Most governments have focused on short-term actions in the face of the pandemic. Some have also begun to look at longer-term strategic requirements with the recovery in sight. Several developing country governments have stepped in to protect their businesses and personal incomes.

For an inclusive e-commerce 

Governments must prioritize digital readiness at the national level so that more local businesses become producers of the digital economy, not just consumers.

This requires accelerating the digitization of small businesses and paying more attention to digital entrepreneurship, including retraining especially of women.

Countries also need increased capacities to capture and exploit data, and stronger regulatory frameworks to create and benefit from the digital economy, the report says.

Dessiner l’avenir du commerce en ligne

Un meilleur dialogue et une meilleure collaboration sont nécessaires pour identifier de nouvelles voies pour l’économie numérique.

Les archives dédiées à la COVID-19 lancées à l’automne 2020 et le nouveau rapport COVID-19 et e-commerce sont les derniers efforts collectifs de l’initiative pour construire un avenir numérique durable.

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