The COVID-19 pandemic boosted online sales in 2020 according to initial estimates by UNCTAD (United States Conference on Trade and Development). In a report published in the beginning of May, the organization noted the “dramatic rise” in e-commerce amid widespread movement restrictions induced by COVID-19 across the globe.
Online sales multiplied by two
And while not all e-commerce players benefited from the health crisis (ridesharing and travel services in particular), worldwide growth in online sales doubled in 2020 according to the institution, based on statistics from seven countries (Australia, Canada, China, South Korea, Singapore, United Kingdom and United States) accounting for almost two-thirds of online B2C sales.
Data for these countries show that online retail sales grew 22.4% last year, to $2.495 billion, compared to an increase of 15.1% between 2018-2019.
Between 2018 and 2019, the share of online retail sales increased by 1.7 percentage points, while between 2019 and 2020, it increased by 3.6 percentage points. Furthermore, the pace of this growth is twice as fast added report’s author, Torbjorn Fredriksson, told AFP.
Very strong growth in terms of both sales revenues and volume
Online sales registered strong growth in the main countries for e-commerce, with a jump in online retail sales of 46.7% in the United Kingdom and 32.4% in the United States compared with a 14.6% increase in China. UNCTAD does not yet have global data for 2020, but studies suggest strong growth in e-commerce from other regions, said Mr. Fredriksson.
UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said: Businesses and consumers that were able to ‘go digital’ have helped mitigate the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
The total gross merchandise volume (AGV) of the top 13 B2C e-commerce companies increased by 20.5% in 2020, more than in 2019 (17.9%).
 B2C : Business-to-Consumer