COVID-19 Triggered the E-commerce Turning Point

In years to come, we will look back at 2020 as the moment that changed everything. Nowhere else has unprecedented and unforeseen growth occurred as in the digital and e-commerce sectors. It has boomed amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Amid slowing economic activity, COVID-19 has led to a surge in e-commerce and accelerated digital transformation.

As lockdowns became the new normal, businesses and consumers increasingly “went digital”, providing and purchasing more goods and services online. The trend towards e-commerce is likely to continue throughout the recovery from COVID-19.

The lockdown shows the strong uptake of e-commerce across regions, with consumers in emerging economies making the greatest shift to online shopping.

The trend towards e-commerce uptake seen in 2020 is likely to be sustained during recovery, the report says.

But in many of the world’s least developed countries, consumers and businesses have not capitalized on pandemic-induced e-commerce opportunities due to persistent barriers.

These include costly broadband services, overreliance on cash, lack of consumers’ trust, poor digital skills among the population and governments’ limited attention to e-commerce.

The pandemic has mostly benefited the world’s leading digital platforms.

According to the report, building an enabling e-commerce ecosystem requires changes in public policy. Business practices to improve the digital and trading infrastructure, facilitate digital payments and establish appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks for online transactions and security.

Also, what we require is faster digitalization for smaller businesses and more attention to digital entrepreneurship, including reskilling, especially of women.

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