E-commerce Growth Post-Pandemic: Developing Countries Have Surpassed Established Markets

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held a celebration of e-commerce during a weeklong seminar held in April 2022. 

A survey presented during the commerce week found that online sales growth in 2021 continued even after the 2020 pandemic– contrary to the thought this trend would slow down as nations lift COVID restrictions.

While developed markets like China, the United Kingdom and the United States witnessed solid growth in their online sales throughout the past two years, developing countries experienced even greater gains. 

In Bahrain, for example, online shopping rates tripled from 2019 to 2020. The country’s online sales increased from $4.5 billion in 2019 to $15 billion in 2021. 

The United Nations report also shows online shopping in the United Arab Emirates grew more than twofold between 2019 and 2021. Online sales in other developed countries like Australia, Canada and the U.S. increased from $2 trillion in 2019 to $2.9 trillion in 2021.

“Despite the COVID-triggered economic turmoil and disruption, online retail sales grew strongly as customers turned to online shopping and sales declined at the physical store,” according to UNCTAD.

The result was a notable increase in the volume of e-commerce sales (in total retail sales) to 19 percent in 2020 up from 16 percent in 2019.

The report shows that growth was driven by more internet and eCommerce website awareness, increased mobile use and improved access to broadband, which helped many countries recover from the pandemic faster than expected.

A second report found that e-commerce has become an important part of international trade between developed and developing countries. 

In particular, it found that exports from developing countries have grown faster than exports from developed ones, suggesting that technology is levelling the playing field for small businesses around the world.

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Content crafter Alex Wilmont has been active in the payments industry for over 15 years. He lives simply, gives generously and loves his 2 dogs. His mission is to enhance and innovate the fintech industry for years to come.