European nations hold eight of the top 10 spots on UNCTAD’s Business-to-Consumer (B2C) E-commerce Index 2019, which ranks 152 countries on their readiness to engage in online commerce. Europe remains by far the most prepared region for e-commerce, with eight countries ranking in the top 10 of a global index.
For the second consecutive year, the Netherlands leads UNCTAD’s Business-to-Consumer (B2C) E-commerce Index, followed by Switzerland. The only non-European countries on the top 10 list are Singapore (third) and Australia (10th).
The index scores 152 nations on their readiness for online shopping, worth an estimated US$3.9 trillion globally in 2017, up 22% from the previous year. Countries are scored on the access to secure internet servers, the reliability of postal services and infrastructure, and the portion of their population that uses the internet and has an account with a financial institution or mobile-money-service provider.
The 10 developing countries with the highest scores are all from Asia and classified as high-income or upper middle-income economies. At the other end of the spectrum, least developed countries occupy 18 of the 20 bottom positions.
“Our B2C index shows how real and worrying the digital gap is between developed and developing countries,” says Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s unit that prepares the annual index.
For example, in half a dozen European nations, more than 80% of internet users make purchases online. But that proportion is below 10% in most low and lower middle-income countries.